Former TV presenter Fred Talbot was back at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court today for his ongoing trial. The ex weatherman is said to have sexually assaulted a total of five teenagers aged 16 or under, between 1969 and 1984.
Mr Talbot, also known as ‘Fred the weatherman’, denies all allegations against him. However he admits sexual activity with one of the alleged victims did occur only after he was 16 – the age of consent.
In the previous day’s proceedings, the court heard the prosecutor accuse Mr Talbot of using his extrovert personality to gain the trust and take advantage of the underage boys.
The case’s resumption saw the defence counsel for Mr Talbot, Miss Suzanne Goddard QC, begin her cross-examination of the first prosecution witness.
“He showed you a window into a world of education at college, took you on trips, to museums, college parties. It was a very sociable place to be”, Miss Goddard said to the witness.
Miss Goddard repeatedly referred to Mr Talbot’s journal; suggesting that the former teacher was keen on the “intelligent boy” staying on at school, as he believed this would have helped him later on in life. “I honestly don’t remember”, the witness replied.
The court further heard the defence read more from Mr Talbot’s diary; mentioning trips, walks and certain incidents that took place in them. The witness abruptly replied, “To be honest, I think this is pure fiction.”
Mr Talbot’s QC went on to suggest that the age gap of 5 years between the pair was not enormous, to which the witness replied, “Yes”.
The witness admitted that Mr Talbot visited his mother, but said he couldn’t remember Miss Goddard’s suggestion that Mr Talbot asked his mother to encourage her son to stay on at school. Miss Goddard continued suggesting that Mr Talbot initially met the witness when he was 15 although sexual activity took place after the alleged victim was 16. “That’s wrong”, the witness replied.
The defence asks the witness how he can be certain he was 14 when he first met Mr Talbot, if there is no specific event that places him at 14. “In my mind I was 14 – it just gets imprinted into your brain”, the complainant replies.
The jury further hears more from Mr Talbot’s diary, written in 1970. Miss Goddard then says it is significant because it points to the fact that a sexual relationship between the pair developed after the witness was 16. The witness declines the possibility of this saying, “Impossible”.
The courtroom heard that the alleged victim told his daughters in the late 80s that he knew Mr Talbot. When asked by the defence why he told his daughters about Mr Talbot, if he considered himself to have been abused by him, the witness replied “Because he was on TV”.
Furthermore, the jury heard that the witness contacted Mr Talbot, on Facebook 5 years ago “just to say hello.” He explains he did this “on a whim”, but Mr Talbot never replied. The witness previously claimed he didn’t write to or receive any letters from Mr Talbot. However the defence present him with a letter he wrote to Mr Talbot’s mother asking for Fred’s address, which he then admitted.
Subsequently, the court heard the witness read another letter he had written to Mr Talbot saying he was “sorry our friendship ended” and that getting back in touch has “given me confidence that I did have a good friend.” The complainant reads on, “I was what was commonly known as a speed freak, dropping acid and smoking as much dope as I could get my hands on”. The witness previously claimed in the courtroom that he had “never touched drugs” in his life.
The first of the five witnesses has finished being questioned. The next witness is expected to begin giving evidence in court tomorrow.
The trial, expected to last for three to four weeks, continues.
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri