Northern Ireland news

Co Down couple Gary and Heather Talbot to be sentenced for serious child sex offences

Gary and Heather Talbot

A married couple from Co Down are to be sentenced for serious child sex offences next month.

The case came to a conclusion today after Gary Talbot (59) confessed to the last remaining charge he faced.

The Newcastle man previously pleaded guilty to 15 offences against a child aged between three and five at the time.

They included two counts each of rape, gross indecency with a child and indecent assault along with six of “taking or permitting to be taken” indecent photos of a child, all committed between January 2001 and October 2003.

He also confessed to three counts of distributing indecent images of a child in May 2011.

Standing handcuffed in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, Talbot also pleaded guilty to sexual assault against a teenager on a date between July 2012 and July 2014.

Appearing in the same court last Wednesday, his 58-year-old wife Heather Talbot confessed to a number of sex offences but due to legal reasons, her pleas could not be reported until now.

She admitted two counts each of aiding and abetting her husband in the rape of the little girl, indecently assaulting her and committing acts of gross indecency with or towards the child.

She also admitted three charges relating to indecent images of children.

Judge Piers Grant ordered a pre-sentence probation report to be completed ahead of sentencing on June 4.

During a failed bail application last year, the court heard how police uncovered photographic evidence that showed Gary Talbot and his wife engaging in sexual acts with the victim.

The couple's home was initially searched October 2017 when a number of devices, computers and a laptop were seized.

Gary Talbot said his “wife was present” during some incidents and “could’ve taken some of the photos,” some of which he distributed to “like-minded individuals in chat rooms”.

Heather Talbot admitted to “dressing the victim for her husband” but claimed she left the room and "did not know what happened after that".

The couple have been on remand at Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood prisons since February 2018.

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