Co Down couple to stand trial for rape and molestation of girl aged under four
A husband and wife have been ordered to stand trial accused of the rape and sexual abuse of a young girl.
Gary and Heather Talbot from Newcastle, Co Down, appeared at Downpatrick Magistrates Court for the first time in almost a year yesterday.
They were present for their preliminary enquiry, the legal step necessary to refer all cases upwards to the Crown Court.
Standing in the dock, both Gary Talbot (59) and Heather Talbot (58) confirmed their identities and said they were aware of the charges.
The Talbots, with an address at HMP Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood respectively, are jointly accused on 10 charges including two of indecent assault, two of committing acts of gross indecency with the female child and six of taking or making indecent photos of a child. Gary Talbot faces two counts of raping the alleged victim. His wife is accused of aiding and abetting the alleged rapes.
Those offences are alleged to have been committed on dates between January 1, 2001 and October 6, 2003. Gary Talbot faces a further count of sexually assaulting the same victim on a date unknown between July 21, 2012 and July 21, 2014. He is also accused on three counts of distributing indecent images of children on May 21, 2011.
Nothing of the facts were opened in court yesterday but a prosecuting lawyer submitted there is a prima facie case against the couple, a submission that the defence conceded.
Previous courts have heard claims that Heather Talbot allegedly bought stockings and underwear for the infant female before her husband allegedly raped her.
There are also claims the police uncovered photographic evidence that showed Gary Talbot and his wife engaging in sexual acts, including rape, with the girl who would have been aged between two and four at the time of the alleged offences.
When the married couple first appeared in court almost a year ago, a detective constable told the hearing the couple's home was searched in October 2017 when a number of devices, computers and a laptop were seized.
The officer revealed that when the devices were examined "a number of digital images were found which clearly show Gary and Heather Talbot engaging in sexual activity with a child two to four years old at their home address".
In his interviews, Gary Talbot admitted "making a collection of sexy videos ... admitted rape, sexually assaulting and gross indecency with the child".
In court yesterday both Gary Talbot, wearing a cream jumper and blue jeans, and his wife, wearing a black jumper, declined to comment on the charges or call evidence.
District Judge Amanda Brady remanded the pair back into custody and ordered them to appear at the higher court for their arraignment on February 19.