Scotland

Fred Talbot guilty of sex offences on trips to Scotland

Fred Talbot Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Fred Talbot was previously jailed for five years for indecent assault

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been found guilty of historical sex offences against boys he took on school trips to Scotland.

At Lanark Sheriff Court, he was convicted of seven charges of indecent assault in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Talbot was a teacher at a school in the Manchester area at the time and took boys away on camping and boating trips.

Sheriff Nikola Stewart asked for background reports and will sentence him next month.

Talbot, 67, of Greater Manchester, had denied the allegations but was convicted of seven of the nine charges he faced after a nine-day trial.

He was cleared of two charges - one of indecent assault and one of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices - on not proven verdicts.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Talbot was found guilty of the charges after a trial at Lanark Sheriff Court

The offences, against boys aged 15 to 17, all took place between 1978 and 1981. They happened during separate trips to two locations - one near Moffat in southern Scotland, and one on the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.

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.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown gave evidence during the trial

One man told the court he was indecently assaulted as a teenage boy 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 over a video link from Australia to recount how he woke 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 had never forgotten the moment Talbot invited one of his young friends to sleep in his tent on a school camping trip.

Image caption Det Insp Bryan Lee said police would take action on all reports of abuse

Det Insp Bryan Lee welcomed the guilty verdicts, describing Talbot as 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 said.

"He took advantage of his position of trust to abuse young men in his care.

"Thanks to the bravery of his victims, their courage in speaking to us and their commitment and support throughout this investigation, and to close working with Greater Manchester Police, we have been able to secure this conviction today."

He added the police message was that they would listen and take action on all reports of abuse no matter where or when they occurred.

Talbot was jailed for five years at Manchester Crown Court in 2015 for the indecent assault of two 14-year-old boys.

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

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