Manchester

Fred Talbot: 'Inconsistencies' in sex assault claims

Fred Talbot Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fred Talbot denies 10 counts of indecent assault against schoolboys.

Former TV weather presenter Fred Talbot should be cleared of sex allegations due to "many inconsistencies" in his accusers' evidence, a jury has heard.

The former teacher denies 10 counts of indecent assault against schoolboys.

In her closing speech, Mr Talbot's barrister asked jurors if they could consider any of the complainants as "reliable and accurate witnesses".

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Judge Timothy Mort has started to sum up the case to the jury.

Four of the alleged victims studied at Altrincham Grammar School where Mr Talbot taught biology, while the other was said to be a pupil at a school in Gateshead whom the defendant met while at teacher training college.

Suzanne Goddard QC, defending Mr Talbot, 65, said: "Since he left Altrincham Grammar School in 1984, he has led a life as a successful, hard-working television presenter.

"There is no suggestion here of Mr Talbot meeting young fans in hotel rooms or make-up rooms at Television Centre.

"Once these allegations came to light, his career has effectively ended."

'Littered with mistakes'

Mr Talbot, of Bowdon, Greater Manchester, has admitted a sexual relationship with the Gateshead complainant but said it started after the boy turned 16.

Miss Goddard questioned the complainant's evidence that he was 14 when Mr Talbot abused him when the prosecution case was that he was 15.

She asked jurors how they could be sure he was guilty of any of the six counts of indecent assault he faces involving the complainant when he could have the year wrong.

Another complainant gave a "fantastical" account of a naked mock orgy on a canal barge and his evidence was "littered with mistakes", she said.

She labelled evidence from Stone Roses singer Ian Brown, an ex-pupil of Mr Talbot, who said he and a class of 11-year-olds were given masturbation as homework and was also shown a gay porn film as "completely ludicrous".

When giving evidence Mr Talbot admitted he resigned from Altrincham Grammar in May 1984 because he made an indecent proposal to two 14-year-old boys during an astronomy lesson at his home, which he said he was intended as a joke.

Mr Talbot lied to police about why he had resigned, the court has heard.

Miss Goddard said: "He was embarrassed. He did not want the police to know why he resigned because the whole of his burgeoning TV career was on the line."

On Monday, prosecutor Neil Usher told the jury Mr Talbot violated "again and again" the trust of parents.

He did so, not because he was a "monster" but "a very weak and a very selfish man" who would rather submit to his sexual urges towards teenage boys than control his actions, said the prosecutor.

He said that "inconsistencies" the defence might rely on showed the complainants were not reciting a script but "trying their best to remember what happened to them".

Summing up will continue on Wednesday before the jury is expected to be sent out to start its deliberations.

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