Belfast Telegraph

Newcastle man admits rape and sexual abuse of young girl

Gary and Heather Talbot
Gary and Heather Talbot

By Paul Higgins

A Newcastle man has pleaded guilty to the rape and sexual abuse of a young girl.

Standing handcuffed in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, 59-year-old Gary Talbot entered guilty pleas to all but one of the sex offences against him.

Gary Talbot, with an address at HMP Maghaberry, dressed in a grey shirt and striped tie, confessed to 15 offences including two counts each of rape, gross indecency with a child and indecent assault along with six offences of “taking or permitting to be taken” indecent Photos of a child, all committed on dates unknown between 1 January 2001 and 6 October 2003.

He also confessed to three counts of distributing indecent images of a child in May 2011 but denied one count of sexually assaulting the same victim on a date unknown between 21 July 2012 and 21 July 2014.

His wife 58-year-old Heather Talbot - with an address at Hydebank Wood - standing alongside him in the dock with a prison officer separating them, denied all of the 12 offences she faces.

Mrs Talbot, wearing a black jacket and light blue cardigan, denied aiding and abetting, counselling and procuring her husband in the rapes and further offences of indecent assault, gross indecency and six offences relating to “taking or permitting to be taken” indecent photos of a child.

Previous courts have heard claims that Heather Talbot allegedly bought stockings and underwear for the infant female before her husband raped her.

As the couple entered the dock, their lawyers confirmed to Judge Piers Grant that had been “fully advised over the issue of credit and fully understand the implications".

As their respective pleas were announced, Gary Talbot looked to his solicitor for guidance as each count was put and two women in the public gallery wept quietly.

It took the clerk 10 minutes to put all of the charges to the defendants and following the arraignment, prosecuting counsel Laura Ievers told Judge Grant that “even with the narrowed issues” given Mr Talbot’s confessions, she estimated the trial would last two weeks.

She added that the case “would benefit from a review” before any prospective trial date would be set.

Remanding the couple back into custody and ordering Mr Talbot to now sign the police sex offenders register, Judge Grant said he would review the case on February 28.

Nothing of a facts were opened in court on Tuesday.

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