Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot was back in court for his trial this morning having recovered from a heavy fall from the witness box during yesterday’s court proceedings. The 65 year-old had to be rushed to the Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital after missing his footing and falling down upon exiting the witness stand shortly after beginning to give evidence in his defence.
Today Mr Talbot re-entered the witness box – now marked with a noticeable yellow “mind the step” sign – to recommence. Judge Timothy Mort told the jury that he had made “a good recovery, apart from a scab to his head”, and that he would give the defendant a break should he request one.
Fred Talbot is accused of sexually abusing a total of five teenage boys during his teaching years at Altrincham Grammar school for boys between the late 1960s and early 1980s. He denies all ten counts of indecent assault.
Mr Talbot gave answers to the defence QC Miss Suzanne Goddard’s questions with poise and occasionally smiled upon reflection of his previous teaching years. The claims made by Stone Roses front-man Ian Brown – one of his former pupils – that Mr Talbot taught students how to masturbate for homework were described by the defendant as “utter rubbish”.
“I don’t think it even warrants comment.” Talbot said, adding: “Then he went on about a porn film…it’s just not fair. Can you image showing 11-year-olds something like that? Where would I get the films? No, I never did.”
The former biology teacher told the court today that he had engaged in sexual activity with one of the alleged victims but only when the boy was 16 years-old. The jury also heard that Mr Talbot only befriended the boy, from Gateshead, as part of a “unique study” in his dissertation. “I had really high hopes he could do something with his life. I didn’t want him to follow me. I was trying to encourage him”, he told the court.
He said that observing the boy in question was part of the study to see the changes that happen to him through the experiences they were both having at the school. “I think the biological terms are either genotype or phenotype. One is to do with changes based on genes and the other from your environment,” he told the jury.
“My first partner”
In a diary entry written in the 1970s after the boy’s 16th birthday, the ex-teacher –who is five years older than him – wrote, “Everything I’d hoped for occurred, I just hope it won’t bring trouble”. When asked about this entry he said, “This was the first time” something sexual had happened between him and the alleged victim.
He went on to explain that by ‘trouble’ he meant that he feared he had ruined the “study” he had been working on for a long time.
“It [the affair] lasted over three years. He was my first partner. He was a very important person to me. Still is”, he told the court.
As Miss Goddard read out a list of sexual acts to Mr Talbot, the defendant looked down as he agreed to having done all with the boy apart from penetrative activity.
Mr Talbot – one of ITV most famous weather presenters – is due back at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court where his trial continues.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri