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Weatherman Fred Talbot guilty of abusing boys on school trips

By Hilary Duncanson

Former TV weatherman Fred Talbot has been convicted of a string of sex offences against schoolboys he took on trips to Scotland more than 35 years ago.

The predator, now 67, abused his position of trust to indecently assault seven teenage boys in his care during camping and boating trips in the 1970s and 1980s while he was a biology teacher at a school in the Manchester area.

Talbot, of Greater Manchester, had denied the allegations, making his victims give evidence during a nine-day trial at Lanark Sheriff Court.

The jury took four hours over two days to convict the former television personality of seven of the nine historical abuse charges against him.

Once the verdicts were delivered, they were told that Talbot is already serving a five-year sentence imposed in Manchester in 2015 for indecently assaulting two other schoolboys.

Sheriff Nikola Stewart will sentence him on the fresh convictions in three weeks' time.

Talbot, who used to be a regular on the floating weather map in Liverpool's Albert Dock for ITV's This Morning, sat impassively as the verdicts were delivered.

It followed days of "overwhelming and compelling" evidence against Talbot, including from Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown and a witness appearing over a video link from Australia.

The offences, against boys aged 15 to 17, took place between 1978 and 1981, and happened during separate trips to two locations in Scotland.

A succession of witnesses, now men in their 50s who cannot be named for legal reasons, told of their excitement at going on the excursions - sometimes the first time away from their parents.

Talbot was then a young teacher with a relaxed attitude and would talk to the boys about topics such as music, alcohol and sex, the court heard.

The men then recounted how Talbot used his position to engineer situations to target the very people he should have been looking after.

The court heard of similarities between some of the attacks - they could be at night, when a victim was isolated and after they had consumed alcohol.

One man in Australia recounted how he awoke in his tent to find Talbot making a sexual advance on him. Another witness said he was left ''petrified'' when Talbot indecently assaulted him on a trip to the Caledonian Canal in 1979.

Singer Brown (54), not an alleged victim, told the trial Talbot would regularly talk about trips during class, but would only invite certain people to go.

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