Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot found guilty of sex offences

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been convicted of a string of sex offences against schoolboys he took on trips to Scotland more than 35 years ago.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 10:26 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:29 pm
Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot arrives at court. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Talbot, 67, of Greater Manchester, abused his position of trust to indecently assault seven teenage boys in his care during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 1980s while he was a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area.

After a nine-day trial at Lanark Sheriff Court, the jury took four hours over two days to convict the former television personality of seven of the nine historical abuse charges against him.

Once the verdicts were delivered, they were told that Talbot is already serving a five-year sentence imposed in Manchester in 2015 for indecently assaulting two other schoolboys.

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Sheriff Nikola Stewart will sentence him on the latest convictions in three weeks’ time.

Talbot – who used to be a regular weather presenter on the floating map of the UK in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s This Morning show – sat impassively as the verdicts were delivered.

This followed days of “overwhelming and compelling” evidence against Talbot, including from former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown about a friend who had been abused, and a witness appearing via a video link from Australia.

The offences, against boys aged 15 to 17, took place between 1978 and 1981, and happened during trips to two locations in Scotland – near the St Mary’s Loch area in Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Caledonian Canal in Inverness in the Highlands.

A succession of male witnesses, now in their 50s, told the court of their excitement at going on the excursions – sometimes it was the first time they had been away from their parents.

Talbot was then a young teacher with a relaxed attitude and would talk to the boys about topics such as music, alcohol and sex, the court heard.

The men recounted how Talbot used his position to engineer situations to target the very people he should have been looking after.

The court heard of similarities between some of the attacks – they could be at night, when a victim was isolated and after they had consumed alcohol. One man told how he was indecently assaulted as a teenager after a visit to the pub saw him consume eight pints and whisky.

On two charges – of indecent assault and lewd, indecent and libidinous practices – Talbot received not proven verdicts.

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Talbot may have thought that he had got away with the vile assaults he inflicted on children in his care but, thanks to the bravery of his victims, he has finally been brought to justice.

“Abuse ruins childhoods and its effects last into adulthood. We hope Talbot’s conviction for these crimes will help his victims overcome what happened to them.

“This case shows once again how important it is that those who have suffered abuse are able to come forward and see justice, no matter how much time has passed.”