The trial of former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been halted after he was rushed to hospital following a hard fall in the courtroom. It was the first time he was giving evidence publicly in his trial at Manchester Minshull Crown Court.
Mr Talbot was leaving the witness box after a pause in court proceedings when he missed a step, fell and hit his head on a solid wooden table. The 65 year-old was dazed, lying on the floor where he could be heard gasping for breath as blood trickled down from his forehead to his swollen nose.
The incident happened after the jury had left the courtroom but the public gallery was still packed with stunned reporters, court staff, police officers and court-watchers who witnessed the unfolding episode.
As Mr Talbot lay on the floor, shaken, a member of the police rushed to his aid and put her arm round his back to prop him up. He appeared to have been knocked unconscious by the fall but when court staff noticed he was responding they decided to clear the courtroom immediately.
Paramedics treated him on the scene where he was seen moments later holding a dressing to his bleeding forehead. He was also heard insisting “I’m fine” but paramedics insisted on rushing him to the Manchester Royal Infirmary via an ambulance.
“A strange day”
The former teacher had been giving evidence for 20 minutes before the accident. Earlier this morning, around 10.00am, the entire building had to be evacuated following a fire alarm.
Mr Talbot had begun giving his evidence to the jury at 11.28am. He had told the court that he went into teaching in the late 1960s because he wanted to “change the world” through educating its people. The jury also heard that Mr Talbot first knew of his homosexuality when he was 14 years-old and “sixth-formers made my life a sheer misery” in school.
He later told the courtroom that he thought it was “terrible” that the age of gay consent back in the 1960s was 21, adding that, “it caused a lot of problems for many people back then.”
By 11.48am the jury had left the court and the accident occurred within seconds.
At 12.30pm the jury was sent home by Judge Timothy Mort who told them that, “unfortunately after you left the room, Mr Talbot was leaving the witness box, missed his footing and banged his head on one of those [wooden] structures. He was obviously treated to see if he could just be patched up with plaster. But the paramedics came and decided, because it’s a head injury, they really ought to have it checked out. So he’s gone off to the MRI [Manchester Royal Infirmary] in an ambulance I’m afraid.”
The judge added, “It’s a bit of a strange day” and urged them to “mind their step”, to which they smiled and laughed – perhaps in reference to the fire drill delay, or perhaps Mr Talbot’s accident.
If he is well enough, Mr Talbot is due in court tomorrow morning where the trial continues. He has been accused of indecently assaulting five teenage boys whilst teaching at Altrincham Grammar School for boys between the late ‘60s and early ‘80s.
The trial, along with Mr Talbot’s recovery, continues.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri