herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Weatherman Talbot guilty of child sex abuse

Former ITV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed after he was finally exposed as an "opportunistic sex offender".

He was remanded in custody shortly after a jury found him guilty of indecently assaulting two Altrincham Grammar School for Boys pupils in the mid-1970s during his former career as a biology teacher.

Talbot (65) had resigned in disgrace from the school in 1984 after making indecent comments to two 15-year-old pupils but hid the indiscretion when his big TV break came a year later.

He continued to cover his tracks when police first investigated him in 1992 and lied again to detectives in the current investigation when they uncovered a host of diaries which were littered with references to sexual encounters.

Talbot looked surprised as Judge Timothy Mort told him his sentence would start today but politely nodded to the jury of nine women and three men at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court as he left the dock.

Historical

He will be sentenced next month but is also the subject of a historical abuse inquiry by police into complaints of offences said to have been committed in Scotland.

The jury in Manchester heard that Talbot's modus operandi was to first establish his "good guy credentials" and then to break down the proper teacher-pupil boundaries, leaving his victims confused as made his advances.

Prosecutor Neil Usher said he was "a weak and selfish man who regularly drank too much" and this led to temptation when boys were in his care.

Both of Talbot's victims, said to be 14 or 15 at the time, were assaulted on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid 1970s.

Each boy was told they had to share a bed with Talbot because there were not enough single bunk beds and each was then abused by him as they slept in a partitioned area.

One of them said he was drunk when he took part in a mock naked "orgy" staged by Talbot and and involving up to 10 other boys on the barge, in which some of the youngsters pretended to be girls.

Talbot, who had denied 10 counts of indecent assault, will be sentenced on March 13.

hnews@herald.ie

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