Veteran British actor Bill Roache has issued a grovelling apology after sparking outrage by apparently suggesting victims of sexual abuse are paying the price for actions in their "previous lives".

The Coronation Street star, whose son is Law & Order actor Linus Roache, insists he is "very sorry" for the controversial remarks he made during a New Zealand Tv interview.

He says, "I would like to say that I am very sorry for any offence that has been caused as a result of my comments. I would never say that victims of sexual offences are in any way responsible for the abuse they have suffered and I offer my deepest apologies if anything I have said has been misunderstood in this way.

"I had no intention of causing any kind of distress as a result of my interview and I offer my utmost sympathies to anyone affected by sexual offences and paedophilia."

During his Tv appearance, which was broadcast in New Zealand on Sunday (17Mar13), Roache told host Garth Bray famous men are sometimes ensnared by "sexually mature" young groupies.

He said, "Paedophiles should be sought out, rooted out and dealt with. But there's a fringe of people who, particularly pop singers, they have these groupies. These girls, who come, they're sexually active, sexually mature, they don't ask for their birth certificate, they don't know what age they may be. But they're certainly not grooming them and exploiting them, but they can be caught in this trap."

When Bray asked if he was implying that "victims bring things on themselves", Roache replied, "Not quite, but then yes I am, because everything that happens to us has been a result of what we have been in previous lives."

In a statement, bosses of Britain's ITv network, which screens Coronation Street, said, "These were personal comments that Bill made, for which he has apologised."