ichael Le Vell is a free man.
After facing accusations of raping a child, and the horror of having his entire life and all its flaws exposed in court, he was found innocent on Tuesday.
Whether he will ever feel completely free of the experience is another matter. The jury delivered their verdict, but will people on social media continue to cast unjust aspersions and cause him further grief? It’s how anyone found not guilty of a serious sex offence must feel; forever scarred.
But for an actor in Britain’s most famous soap, it’s not just the people who live in his neighbourhood or drink in his pub who could be whispering behind his back. It might happen in any street in the world he happens to walk down. Any street bar one, of course; in the fictional one in Weatherfield, life is exactly as it was for his character Kevin Webster.
What of the teenage girl who made the false accusations, though? You can only hope she gets the support she needs. And the anonymity; let’s not forget that. We’re living in a worldwide web world. Already some moron has been arrested for revealing her identity on Facebook.
We’ve also got to hope that a famous person being found innocent of child sex charges doesn’t stop genuine abuse victims from speaking out - and having the courage to take their claims to court.