Former teacher Fred Talbot performed a sex act on a pupil on a school canal trip, the jury in the trial of the ex-TV weatherman heard today. The famous TV presenter is on trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, for sexually assaulting five teenage boys during his teaching years. Mr Talbot, 65, denies all allegations and today’s witness box saw another former pupil give their evidence to the court.
The witness in court today was the third accuser of Mr Talbot. In detail, the complainant told a jury how Mr Talbot started talking to him about “sexual stuff” before performing a sex act on him. The alleged victim, who said he was 13 years old at the time, told the court that “I kept pulling his hand away. I was a very naive child and couldn’t really understand it [the sex act]”.
Mr Talbot is said to have taken a group of boys on a barge trip on the Cheshire ring, whilst teaching biology at Altrincham Grammar school for boys in the 1970s. Upon returning from a pub “drunk” one night, Mr Talbot is alleged to have sexually abused a pupil. The alleged incident happened on a fold-up bed; in a separated room on a barge. “There was a kitchen table that collapsed into a bed”, the witness said.
Mr Talbot told the alleged victim that there was not enough room in the bunks for all the boys, so he would have to share the bed with him. During the trip, which is said to have lasted a week, “the boys took turns to sleep in the bed with Mr Talbot”, the complainant said.
When asked by prosecutor Neil Usher if he was clothed during the night of the alleged sexual assault, the witness replied, “No, I don’t know how this happened. Fred [Talbot] was naked too”. The following morning, “he [Mr Talbot] was subdued and quiet. He later gave me cigarettes”, the witness described to the courtroom. After being asked if he said anything to Mr Talbot the next day, the alleged victim said, “No. I was a very shy child. This was alien to me. I didn’t understand what had happened at the time”.
It was only years later after seeing Mr Talbot on Granada TV, that the witness wrote an anonymous letter to Granada Reports. “I wrote just to say I’ve been sexually assaulted by this [Fred Talbot] man”, the alleged victim told the jury. “I must have been angry at the time”, the witness added.
The defense QC Suzanne Goddard, said to the witness that it was dark on the boat. She then asked the witness, “You saw him naked?” to which the witness replied, “I think I did. Yes”. Miss Goddard then read out an extract from the witness’ statement to the police, before asking him again if he saw Mr Talbot naked. “No. I suppose I don’t have a recollection that he was actually naked”, the witness replies.
Miss Goddard said to witness that it is accepted that he has been on boating trips with Mr Talbot however at no stage did the alleged incident happen. She expands this saying there would have been sleeping bags and you would have slept top-to-tail. The witness responds, “That didn’t happen with me.”
The alleged victim admits later visiting Mr Talbot twice at his house when he was in his 20s; once for a cup of coffee and another time to borrow a record. Miss Goddard says to the accuser, “You were happy to go see him for a coffee at his house and spend time with him.” The alleged victim replies, “I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either.”
The defense went on to say, “Is it because, in fact, nothing sexual happened between you and Mr Talbot?”
“No. It did happen!” the witness replied.
Miss Goddard then says to the witness that it is agreed he had a difficult childhood and had periods of alcoholism. She then suggested that it could be possible the witness may have completely muddled himself up on what actually happened on that barge trip. “No. Absolutely not” the witness replied.
Fred Talbot denies 10 counts of indecent assault. The former Granada TV favourite is due to return to court on Monday, where his trail continues.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri