South Scotland

Fred Talbot indecency trial begins

Lanark Sheriff Court Image copyright Google
Image caption The trial is taking place at Lanark Sheriff Court

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has gone on trial accused of indecently assaulting several teenage boys on school trips to Scotland.

He is also accused of lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards a boy aged 12 on a trip.

Mr Talbot, 67, of Greater Manchester, went on trial at Lanark Sheriff Court after a jury of 15 men and women was selected.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A witness told the court he "froze" after Mr Talbot carried out an assault during a trip to the south of Scotland in 1979.

The man, now aged 54, described the night-time incident involving Mr Talbot, who was then a teacher at the grammar school he attended in Cheshire.

During a weekend camping trip to an area known as Grey Mare's Tail near the Scottish town of Moffat, the witness said Mr Talbot asked to share a tent with him and a friend.

'I just froze'

He described how Mr Talbot put his hand into the opening of his pyjama bottoms and tried to masturbate him.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, added: "I was shocked at the time so I just froze for a moment."

He said he then moved the teacher's arm away.

Defence lawyer Alan Grevelle suggested to the witness that he had reacted to the incident in a "measured" way at the time.

The man said he had been too frightened to do anything else.

The lawyer then put it to him that he had seen a media report about Mr Talbot and "jumped on the bandwagon".

"I'm really sorry you had to say that," the witness replied.

Charges

Mr Talbot is accused of carrying out offences involving pupils aged 15 to 17 on trips in Scotland while he was employed as a school teacher.

He faces eight charges of indecent assault between January 1978 and November 1981, as well as one charge of lewd, indecent and libidinous behaviour in February 1978.

One of the charges alleges he gave a 15-year-old boy alcohol, rendering him intoxicated, during a camping trip.

Six of the incidents are alleged to have happened on camping excursions in Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, and three on boating trips on the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.

The trial, before Sheriff Nikola Stewart, is expected to last for two to three weeks.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites