The case against a perverted married couple has ended after the husband confessed to the last remaining count against them.
Standing handcuffed in the dock of Downpatrick Crown Court, 59-year-old Gary Talbot was rearraigned and entered a guilty plea to sexually assaulting his victim on a date unknown between July 21 2012 and July 22 2014 when she would have been a teenager.
At an earlier hearing Talbot, from Newcastle, Co Down, confessed to 15 other 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 January 1 2001 and October 6 2003 when the victim was aged between three and five-years-old.
He also confessed to three counts of distributing indecent images of a child in May 2011.
Appearing in the same dock last Wednesday, his 58-year-old wife Heather Talbot confessed to a number of the sex offences against her but due to legal reasons, her pleas could not be reported until now.
Mrs Talbot, also from Newcastle, was ordered to sign the sex offenders register after 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.
Following Mr Talbot’s confession today, Judge Piers Grant vacated the trial date, remanded him back into custody, and ordered a pre-sentence probation report to be completed ahead of the sentencing which he scheduled for June 4.
Nothing of the facts were heard today but during a failed bail application last year, the court heard how Mrs Talbot took the child shopping to buy her stockings and lingerie with a view to her husband raping the little girl.
Giving evidence to the court a detective outlined how the police uncovered photographic evidence in their former home that showed the couple engaging in sexual acts, including rape, with the little girl who would have been aged between two and five at the time of the offences.
When the married couple first appeared in court in February last year, the detective told the court the couple’s home was initially 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-four years old at their home address.”
She described how there were images which showed the little girl touching Gary Talbot’s private parts, sitting naked on the knees of both defendants while others were “of the same child wearing stockings and underwear, exposing her genitals”.
In his interviews, Gary Talbot admitted “making a collection of sexy videos ... admitted rape, sexually assaulting and gross indecency with the child”.
He further confessed, the court heard then, “that 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”.
When Heather Talbot was questioned by police, “she has stated that she had gone with her husband to purchase the dressing up outfits for the victim and that he had discussed with her prior to that that he had fantasised about children,“ revealed the detective.
Heather Talbot also 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”.
In relation to chat logs found on the couple’s computer, the detective said Mrs Talbot admitted she had accessed “adult swinging websites with her husband and would use fake names on the sites”, but claimed the logs about the sexual abuse of children “were all written by her husband or that he had distributed the images, not her”.
Judge Grant ordered the couple to appear before him to be sentenced on June 4.