Belfast Telegraph

More victims of couple in child sex abuse case are identified, court is told


By Paul Higgins

Additional victims have been identified by police investigating a married couple already facing a catalogue of sex offence charges, a court has heard.

The claims emerged yesterday as Gary and Heather Talbot appeared at Downpatrick Magistrates Court via video link.

A prosecution lawyer said that while more victims have been identified, "they have yet to be located".

"The police investigation is very much still in its infancy," said the lawyer.

District judge Amanda Brady remanded the couple back into custody to appear again next Thursday, March 8, via video link. A defence solicitor had been unable to attend due to the snowy conditions.

Gary Talbot (58) and his 57-year-wife Heather, from Kinghill Avenue in Newcastle, Co Down, are jointly charged with gross indecency with a child, inciting a child to commit an act of gross indecency, indecent assault, and three counts alleging they possessed, made and distributed indecent images of a child.

In addition, Gary Talbot faces two counts of rape and his wife a count of aiding and abetting rape on dates unknown between 2001 and 2003 when the alleged victim was aged between approximately 18 months and five years.When the couple were initially charged four weeks ago, the court heard claims that Heather Talbot allegedly bought stockings and underwear for the infant female before her husband raped her.

A detective claimed the police had uncovered photographic evidence that showed Gary Talbot engaging in sexual acts, including rape, with the little girl. Giving evidence to the court, the detective constable said the couple's home was initially searched last October when a number of devices, computers and a laptop were seized, adding that Gary Talbot is being investigated over indecent images of children in a separate investigation.

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 of two to four years at their home."

The court had heard that during police interviews Gary Talbot identified the child to officers, but police had been unable to get in touch with her family.

In his interviews, Gary Talbot admitted "making a collection of sexy videos... admitted rape, sexually assaulting and gross indecency with the child", the court heard.

Heather Talbot had admitted to "dressing the victim for her husband" but claimed she left the room so "did not know what happened after that between her husband and the victim", the court heard. She further claimed many of the images were "innocent" with some taken when the girl was "just out of the bath".

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