England

Fred Talbot: Ex-weatherman jailed for schoolboy abuse

Fred Talbot Image copyright PA
Image caption Fred Talbot worked as a biology teacher before starting his TV career

Ex-TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been jailed for five years for sex attacks on two boys while he was a teacher.

Talbot, 65, was convicted in February of indecent assaults on two pupils from Altrincham Grammar School.

He was cleared of eight other charges of indecent assault, after a three-week trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Police said the crimes, said to have taken place on trips in 1975 and 1976, "destroyed" his victims' childhood.

Talbot, of Bowdon, Greater Manchester, denied abusing boys aged 14 to 17, but was found guilty of two counts relating to assaults carried out on canal boat trips when the boys were about 14.

He was sentenced to two and a half years for each offence to run consecutively and was told he must serve half of his sentence before being considered for release on licence.

'Abuse of trust'

He is best known for presenting the weather on ITV's This Morning programme from a floating map at Liverpool's Albert Dock.

But before his media stint, the Edinburgh-born presenter worked as a biology teacher at the boys' school until May 1984.

During the trial, the jury heard his teaching career came to "an abrupt end" after he made an indecent proposal to two pupils he had invited to his home to look at his telescope.

As he passed sentence, judge Timothy Mort told Talbot his jail term would start immediately bearing in mind his "abuse of trust".

He said Talbot had "deliberately and indecently assaulted the two of them for your own gratification".

Addressing Talbot, he said the 65-year-old had taken pupils on as many as 38 trips and the offences he was convicted of were not isolated incidents.

"You had, on other occasions, abused your position to offend.

"You calculated the boys would be too confused, guilt-ridden or embarrassed to disclose what happened."

Image copyright Gmp
Image caption Talbot's lawyer said he expected a custodial sentence and was "accustoming himself" to life in jail

The judge added that both victims had been affected by the abuse by Talbot, with one suffering from mental health issues since the incident.

He also said one of the victims made repeated complaints about Talbot to police before he was charged.

After sentencing, Det Ch Insp Graham Brock said Talbot had "plied boys with drink and orchestrated situations to be alone with his victims, in order to indecently assault them to feed his own sexual desires".

"You can imagine the excitement of a teenage boy setting off on a canal trip with friends and a teacher, who he should expect to look after him, only to return with his childhood destroyed," he said.

"Put simply, these offences reflect an abhorrent abuse of trust by a man proven to have no regard for the innocence of youth he was employed to nurture."

Further allegations

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.

"He knows he must now receive a custodial sentence. He has come to terms with that," she said.

Following his trial, it was revealed Talbot was also questioned by Greater Manchester Police about an alleged serious sexual assault on a former pupil, but the investigation was shelved after the complainant died.

A number of similar complaints against Talbot have been passed by police to the Procurator Fiscal Office in Scotland.

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

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