Fred Talbot guilty as Scots sex abuse claims emerge

Shamed former TV weatherman Fred Talbot. Picture: PA
Shamed former TV weatherman Fred Talbot. Picture: PA
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TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been remanded in custody after being branded an “opportunistic sex offender”.

A jury found him guilty of indecently assaulting two pupils in the mid-1970s during his former career as a biology teacher at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.

Edinburgh-born 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 will be sentenced next month but is also the subject of a historical abuse inquiry in Scotland.

A number of similar ­complaints against Talbot have been passed by police to the procurator fiscal about offences said to have been committed in the west of Scotland during a school trip.

Talbot looked surprised as Judge Timothy Mort told him his sentence would start immediately, as he left the dock at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

The jury heard Talbot would establish his “good guy credentials” and then break down proper teacher-pupil boundaries.

Prosecutor Neil Usher said he was “a weak and selfish man who regularly drank too much”.

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.

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.

Among the prosecution witnesses at the four-week trial was Stone Roses singer Ian Brown, who said Talbot gave masturbation practice as homework, and showed a gay porn film in another class.

The court heard that Talbot’s teaching career came to a swift end in May 1984 following an indecent proposal he made to two pupils at his home.

Talbot kept quiet about why he resigned from Altrincham Grammar as his television career took off – he found fame on the floating weather map berthed in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s top-rating This Morning show.

Following the verdicts, senior investigating officer Detective Constable Chris Doggart said: “Talbot was an extremely popular and well-liked individual – both as a celebrity weatherman and formerly as a science teacher.

“Now he has been exposed as an opportunistic sex offender and that reputation is rightly in tatters.

“Often fuelled by drink, he seized upon opportunities that he had orchestrated to indecently assault young boys.”

In a statement, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys said: “These awful events took place over 30 years ago and naturally our thoughts go out to those former pupils who were subjected to this abuse.

“We are confident that our present pupils and their parents know that the school is totally committed to ensuring the safety of our students and staff at all times and that these historic offences have no bearing on the school’s outstanding reputation today.”

Talbot will be sentenced on March 13.