South Scotland

Fred Talbot gives evidence at indecent assault trial

Lanark Sheriff Court Image copyright PA

Former TV weather presenter Fred Talbot has told a court he was "definitely not" attracted to the boys he used to take on school trips.

The 67-year-old was giving evidence to his trial at Lanark Sheriff Court.

He denies indecently assaulting several teenage boys on school trips to Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s.

He told the court there had been an occasion where he had slept in a tent with pupils but he said that was perfectly normal at the time.

Defence counsel Alan Gravelle also asked how Mr Talbot had ended up spending the night in a mini-bus with boys.

Mr Talbot said: "We did spend the night in tents, but we also spent the night in a mini-bus because we got soaked, because it was so wet."

Mr Gravelle asked if there was any reluctance from the boys to spend the night on the mini-bus with him but he replied: "No."

The court heard extracts of Mr Talbot's diary while on trips in which he spoke about having "high hopes" while on a trip to St Mary's Loch, Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, in 1981 and had written he had to be careful "not to mess it up".

He was asked if this referred to a desire and attraction for the boys he was on the trip with while working as a teacher.

'Not attracted'

Mr Talbot replied: "I was definitely not attracted to them.

"This was 1981 and days like that I might have been interested in a relationship with a local person."

The accused was later cross-examined by fiscal depute Imran Bashir, who asked how witnesses who had given evidence about the trips could be wrong.

Mr Bashir claimed Mr Talbot had abused his position as a teacher and the rights of his alleged victims.

He said: "Each individual has rights that can't be ignored, do you agree with that?"

Mr Talbot agreed, saying: "I think every individual has equal rights."

The court was told that none of his alleged victims had said they disliked him.

Mr Bashir said: "Time and time again we have heard people give evidence that you effectively carried out indecent assaults on them.

"They have come into this courtroom and said you have done these things to them."

Mr Talbot, of Greater Manchester, denies the charges against him and the trial continues.

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