Le Vell tells jury: I'm fighting for my life
on 05/09/2013 18:11:54
The soap actor's private life was laid bare in court as he admitted being an alcoholic, having a string of one night stands and an affair - as his wife underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer.
And the court heard Le Vell, 48, was a man with "demons" within, whose victim was either telling the truth or had given an "Oscar winning" performance in court.
The actor spoke in a trembling voice to tell the hushed courtroom of his "shock and devastation" at being accused of raping and sexually abusing the youngster.
On the fourth day of his trial, Le Vell, an actor in the soap for 30 years, stood in the witness box for two hours defending himself against 12 charges of child sex abuse.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims Le Vell repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her, once while she was clutching a teddy bear.
Under cross-examination by Eleanor Laws QC, prosecuting, he denied suggestions he laughed or sneered as the victim's mother gave evidence.
But Ms Laws tore into the character of the actor over his past behaviour in a series of terse courtroom exchanges, claiming the defendant was a man with "demons" and nothing like his on-screen part of Kevin Webster known to millions of TV fans.
"Nervous?" she asked in her opening question.
Le Vell, who is charged under his real name of Michael Turner, replied: "As anyone in this position would be."
Ms Laws said: "You were a bit tearful earlier?"
Le Vell said: "I wouldn't say tearful."
The barrister continued: "A bit shaky?"
He said: "Yes. It's a new experience for me."
Ms Laws said: "It has never been more important for you to be more persuasive than you have ever been today."
The actor said: "I would not say persuasive. I am just here to tell the truth."
The barrister went on: "It has never been more important for people watching you to believe you, has it?"
Ms Laws compared his need to be persuasive to an acting job.
Le Vell replied: "It's nothing like an acting job.
"You never get put in a position like this. They never teach you to be here and face what I have been faced with for the last two years. No one can teach you that."
His voice breaking, he added: "I'm fighting for my life."
Ms Laws told the jury this was "not a court of morals" but went on to ask about the "several" affairs Le Vell had earlier admitted to while married for 25 years to wife Janette Beverley.
"Remember you are on oath," Ms Laws added.
Le Vell said one woman was more a confidante and there was "more to the relationship, more..."
"Than just sex, yeh?" Ms Laws interrupted.
She continued: "Are you quite a weak man? You have your demons Mr Turner, when you have had a drink or two? You are not your screen character or anything like it are you Mr Turner?"
The defendant replied: "I don't pretend to be my screen character."
There was then the following exchange:
Ms Laws: "Are you weak?"
Le Vell: "In certain aspects yeh."
Ms Laws: "You have a drink problem?"
Le Vell: "Yes."
"And you have your demons?" Ms Laws said.
The defendant replied: "It depends what you mean, if you mean demon drink, yes."
Le Vell agreed it was his case that the alleged victim had told lie after lie first to her mother, then police and then to the jury in court.
Miss Laws said: "Pretty good performance, don't you think? If she is lying, very convincing, wasn't it? Almost Oscar-winning?"
"And the thing is that you just don't know why (she is lying)?"
The actor said: "No, I don't."
"Unless it is quite simple - you did these things and she is just telling the truth," said the barrister.
Ms Laws told Le Vell he was "clutching at straws" and will continue her cross-examination tomorrow.
Earlier Alisdair Williamson, defending, asked Le Vell how he felt at being accused of the allegations.
"How do I feel?" he replied.
"I'm devastated, I'm lost. I don't understand where it's come from. It's left such a big hole in life.
"I'm like a lost soul and I still want to get to the bottom of why this has happened to me and why I'm being accused of this because I know none of this happened.
"I have been walking around for the last two years just not knowing."
"Never in a million years would I do anything like that."
Le Vell denies five counts of rape, three of indecent assault, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
The trial was adjourned until 10.30am tomorrow.