FORMER TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been convicted of a string of historical sex offences against schoolboys in his care during trips to Scotland.
A jury found the 67-year-old guilty of indecently assaulting seven teenage boys during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 1980s 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 jury took four hours over two days to consider their verdict.
The jury 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 – on not proven verdicts.
Talbot, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and tie, sat impassively as the verdict was delivered and sentence was deferred until June 15.
The former television personality, who used to be a regular on the floating weather map in Liverpool’s Albert Dock for ITV’s This Morning show, was previously jailed for five years in Manchester in 2015 for indecently assaulting two schoolboys, the court heard.
Those assaults took place on school canal barge trips in the Cheshire area in the mid-1970s.
The Scottish offences, against boys aged 15 to 17, all took place between 1978 and 1981 and happened during separate trips to two locations – near the St Mary’s Loch area in Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, and the Caledonian Canal in Inverness in the Highlands.
During the trial, a succession of witnesses, now men in their 50s who cannot be named for legal reasons, told of their initial excitement at going on the trips – sometimes the first time away from their parents.
At the time, Talbot was 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 more than 35 years ago.
One man told the court he was indecently assaulted as a teenage boy after a visit to the 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 over a video link from Australia to recount how he awoke 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.
Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, 54, who was not an alleged victim, also gave evidence at the trial and said he has never forgotten the moment Talbot invited one of his young friends to sleep in his tent on a school camping trip.
He told how Talbot would regularly talk about trips during class but would only invite certain people to go on the excursions.
After the verdicts were delivered, prosecutor Imran Bashir told the court Talbot is still serving the sentence imposed on him in England.
Sheriff Nikola Stewart called for a criminal justice social work report and a risk assessment to be carried out before she sentences Talbot in three weeks’ time.
Detective Inspector Bryan Lee, senior investigating officer at Police Scotland, said: “Fred Talbot is a sexual predator who hid behind a mask of respectability.
“He used his position as a teacher to engineer situations which allowed him to isolate and target his victims.
“He took advantage of his position of trust to abuse young men in his care.
22nd May 2017
TV weatherman Fred Talbot tells jury he is ‘hurt’ by child sex abuse
TALBOT ON TRIAL
TV weatherman Fred Talbot tells jury he is ‘hurt’ by child sex abuse claims
The former teacher, 67, denies molesting nine schoolboys on camping trips to Dumfriesshire and Inverness
TV weatherman Fred Talbot has denied claims he molested schoolboys during camping trips to Scotland.
Talbot, 67, is on trial at Lanark Sheriff Court accused of indecently assaulting nine boys during trips between 1978 and 1981.
The former This Morning star has told a jury he has been left ‘hurt’ by claims he plied teenagers with alcohol before attempting to molest them as they returned to tents.
Under questioning from defence lawyer Alan Gravelle, Talbot said his media career began in 1976 and led to him presenting the weather on This Morning with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan in the 1990s.
He said he had been a biology teacher at a grammar school in the Manchester area and regularly took pupils on school trips to Moffat, Dumfriesshire, and the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.
He said he shared tents with pupils but insisted nothing was ever said about him doing so.
But he dismissed earlier claims from alleged victims that he had told boys to bring alcohol on the trips he organised.
“I was enthusiastically involved with these trips. On the camping trips, there were maybe three or four people to a tent and I just mixed in and there was never any adverse reaction to that. We used to go on the camping trips in autumn and winter so I didn’t see much undress.
“It was that cold the clothes that we wore were the same for the whole trip and the only thing that came off at night was the boots to get into the sleeping bag. It is absolute rubbish to suggest that I would say to someone to bring rum and I just wouldn’t have said it.
“I’m just hurt by these allegations because nothing happened. It might sound daft but I really, really, liked these lads and stayed friends with some of them after school and they said nothing until all of this.
“It just didn’t happen and I don’t know what else to say really.”
Talbot told the court he had hidden his homosexuality while teaching at the school but said it later became public knowledge.
And he told how his media career started taking off following regular slots on a radio show and helping to set questions for the popular TV show, the Krypton Factor.
He said: “My media career started in 1976 when I got a phone-call from BBC Radio Manchester who wanted me to do a talk on the night sky.
“That led to a monthly and then weekly feature on radio and the TV stuff followed.
“I wrote the science questions for the Krypton Factor and worked for the most part with ITV.
“I was then on This Morning with Richard and Judy and we had a big floating weather map out on the Albert Dock.”
Talbot continued: “My sexuality was secret at the school and if it had come out it would’ve caused problems for me.”
We told previously how Stone Roses star Ian Brown told jurors Talbot tried to molest a pal during a camping trip.
The rocker, now 54, said his classmate was left “highly agitated” and fled from sharing a tent with Talbot after the former teacher “tried to touch him.”
Witness Brown, who attended Altrincham grammar school in Greater Manchester in the 1970s, said the boy “dived” to get away from Talbot who he had been sharing a tent with for around 15 minutes.
The trial before Sheriff Nikola Stewart continues.