June 2017

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot sentenced to four years

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been sentenced to four years in jail for a string of sex offences against schoolboys on trips to Scotland more than three decades ago.

The 67-year-old indecently assaulted seven teenage boys in his care during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 1980s while working as a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area.

The offences took place on separate occasions during visits to the St Mary’s Loch area near Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway and the Caledonian canal near Inverness.

During the nine day trial at Lanark Sheriff Court, the court heard “overwhelming and compelling evidence” against him, including from Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown – who was a pupil of his –and via video link from a witness in Australia.

Talbot denied all the charges but the jury deliberated for just four hours before convicting him of seven of the nine historical counts against him on 25 May.

Giving evidence Mr Brown, who was not one of Talbot’s victims, said he had been told by a school friend that their teacher had tried to abuse him while they were alone together in a tent.

He said: “Mr Talbot did these trips and he decided who went.

“You couldn’t just put your name down and say you were going.”

The singer said on the day of the incident, the victim had been invited to the pub with Talbot because “he looked older” and was invited into his tent when they got back.

A short while later, the boy returned to Mr Brown’s tent “in a state” and said Talbot had tried to perform a sex act on him.

I’ve never forgotten it, I was shocked”, he said.

When asked why he had never said anything, the star said Talbot’s media career started after he left the school but he had told “hundreds of people” the story but no one had paid attention.

The witnesses, the majority cannot be named for legal reasons, told of their excitement at going on the excursions – sometimes the first time away from their parents.

Many of them recalled how Talbot used his position to engineer situations to target those he should have been looking after.

The court heard the attacks could be at night when a victim was isolated

Sentencing Talbot, Sheriff Nikola Stewart said the pupils that went on trips organised by Talbot had all trusted and liked the teacher.

“They were all utterly unsuspecting of the sexual threat you posed,” she told the former weatherman.

Sheriff Stewart said he had “utter disregard” for his duties as a teacher and the boys he preyed on were “too embarrassed and disempowered” to report his “disgraceful behaviour”.

Dressed in a grey shirt and striped tie, Talbot was led down from the dock before being transported back to prison

He is already serving a five-year sentence having been convicted in March 2015 of indecent assault against two teenage boys at Altrincham Grammar School.

These assaults are believed to have taken place on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid-1970s.

The former TV personality became known for presenting This Morning’s weather reports from a large floating map of the British Isles in the Albert Dock in Liverpool until production was moved to London.

He stopped appearing on ITV Granada in December 2012 after Greater Manchester Police first raided his home in connection with the first allegations and was arrested by police in April 2013.

May 2017

The former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been convicted of a series of historical sexual offences against boys during trips to Scotland when he was a teacher in the 1970s and 1980s.

A jury found the 67-year-old guilty of indecently assaulting seven teenage boys on the camping and boating trips while he was a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area.

Talbot, of Greater Manchester, had denied the allegations, but was convicted of seven of nine charges after a nine-day trial at Lanark sheriff court.

The former television personality was a regular on the floating weather map in Albert Dock in Liverpool for ITV’s This Morning.

He was previously jailed for five years in Manchester in March 2015 for indecently assaulting two schoolboys, the court heard.

The jury took four hours over two days to consider its verdict. Talbot, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and tie, sat impassively as the verdict was delivered.

They found Talbot unanimously guilty of two of the charges against him.

The remaining five guilty verdicts were by majority. He was cleared of two charges, one of indecent assault and one of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices.

He will be sentenced on 15 June.

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

During the trial, a succession of witnesses who cannot be named for legal reasons, told of their initial excitement at going on the trips, which were sometimes the first time away from their parents.

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

The men went on to recount how Talbot abused his position of trust to attack them. One man told the court he was indecently assaulted as a teenager after a visit to a pub on a camping trip left him “very much the worse for wear”.

The witness told of his “horror” when he awoke, after being “singled out” to go to the pub, to find Talbot touching him in a tent when he was partially clothed.

Another witness gave evidence via videolink from Australia to recount waking up in his tent to find Talbot making a sexual advance on him.

A further witness said he was left “petrified” when Talbot indecently assaulted him on a trip to the Caledonian Canal in 1979.

The Stone Roses frontman, Ian Brown, 54, who was not an alleged victim, gave evidence at the trial and said he had never forgotten the moment Talbot invited one of his young friends to sleep in his tent on a school camping trip.

He said Talbot would regularly talk about trips during class, but would only invite certain people on the excursions.

In February 2015, Talbot was convicted at Manchester Minshull Street crown court of indecent assaults on two pupils from the same school.

Those assaults took place on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid-1970s.

After the verdicts were delivered, the prosecutor, Imran Bashir, told the court that Talbot is still serving the sentence imposed on him in England.

The sheriff, Nikola Stewart, called for a criminal justice social work report and a risk assessment to be carried out before she sentences Talbot.

March 2015

Weatherman Fred Talbot jailed for five years for indecent assault on two schoolboys

Fred-Talbot

TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed for five years for indecently assaulting two schoolboys when he was a teacher.

Talbot, 65, a regular on the floating weather map in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s top rating This Morning show, was described at his trial as a “chancer” who used his “boundless energy” and “extrovert personality” to gain the affection and trust of his victims.

Talbot, who was cleared of assaulting three other boys, was sentenced by Judge Timothy Mort at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

The judge told Talbot: “You deliberately and indecently assaulted the two of them for your own gratification.”

Talbot, who sat in the dock wearing glasses and a purple jumper over a shirt and grey trousers, showed no emotion as he was jailed.

He appeared relaxed as he entered the dock and acknowledged people in the packed courtroom.

Suzanne Goddard QC, defending, said there was little that could be said in mitigation.

She said Talbot had lost a stone in weight during his time in custody but was “accustoming himself” to life in jail.

Ms Goddard said: “He knows he must now receive a custodial sentence. He has come to terms with that.”

The jury at last month’s trial heard that Talbot was “obsessed” with teenage boys throughout his teaching career and “could not help himself” around them when under the influence of drink.

Among the prosecution witnesses at the trial were The Stone Roses’ singer Ian Brown who said Talbot gave masturbation practice as homework.

Prosecutors said 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 he made his advances.

Talbot, of Bowdon, Greater Manchester, was convicted of two counts of indecent assault in relation to two complainants and cleared of eight counts of indecent assault in relation to three other complainants.

Four of the complainants were teenage pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where Talbot taught biology, while the other attended a high school in Gateshead when the defendant was at teacher training college.

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The science teacher denied anything sexual or even inappropriate occurred between himself and the Altrincham pupils, while he said sexual activity with the Gateshead complainant only happened when the boy turned 16.

Both of Talbot’s victims were assaulted on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid 1970s.

The first victim, who thought he was 14 at the time, said the teacher abused him after a mock naked orgy involving up to 10 boys and Talbot.

Talbot told him to share a bed with him as there were not enough bunk beds to go round and performed a sex act on him.

It emerged that he had previously reported the weatherman to police on four separate occasions dating back to 1992 but no action had been taken.

The second victim, who also thought he may have been aged 14 at the time, was abused on another barge trip in similar circumstances.

He said that boys would take turns to sleep in Talbot’s bed during the trip and when it was his turn the defendant “started talking to me about sexual stuff” before indecently assaulting him.

The complainant said when he was aged in his late 20s he wrote to ITV Granada to tell them Talbot had abused him.

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

He offered his bed for the night to the 15-year-old boys and said to them: “Make sure you leave room for me in the middle.”

Following the verdicts, it can be reported that a number of similar complaints against Talbot about offences said to have been committed in Scotland have been passed by police to the Procurator Fiscal.

Edinburgh-born Talbot moved at the age of seven to Sale, Greater Manchester, and later studied A-levels at Sale Grammar School.

After a spell at teacher training college in the Newcastle area he joined Altrincham Grammar School in 1974.

He resigned in disgrace in 1984 and went into television a short time later, with one of his first jobs on a Saturday morning children’s show.

The investigation was triggered in December 2012 following publicity into a separate historic abuse inquiry at another Altrincham school, St Ambrose College, which led to a nine-year jail term for ex-teacher Alan Morris.

MC NEWS PIX PAUL LEWIS, STORY GEEVAN VASAGAR;... ALTRINCHAM GRAMMAR SCHOOL

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