Co Down couple who raped toddler facing ‘significant sentences’

A married Co Down couple who admitted to the rape and sexual posing of a toddler have been warned that they faced “significant sentences”.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 5:03 pm
Gary and Heather Talbot will be sentenced next month
Gary and Heather Talbot will be sentenced next month

Gary and Heather Talbot were told by Judge Piers Grant that their case involved very serious offences in which they had betrayed the trust of a very young child.

The pair, from Kinghill Avenue in Newcastle, will be sentenced next month.

In May last year they pleaded guilty to a series of sex offences, committed between 2001 and 2003 against the child then aged between 18 months and three years and three months.

The 60-year-old postman and bus driver admitted a total of 16 charges including two rapes, gross indecency, indecent assault, and taking and distributing indecent images of the child, and a separate charge of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old teen sometime between July 2012 and July 2014.

His 59-year-old wife Heather admitted 10 charges, including aiding and abetting her husband to rape the little girl, indecently assaulting her, committing acts of gross indecency, in addition to three charges of taking indecent images of the youngster.

Both sat in the dock yesterday just yards from their now grown-up victim who was in the public gallery supported by family and friends.

At one stage Gary Talbot, who listened to the details of his crimes with eyes closed shut, appeared to shake his head from side to side in apparent denial, while his wife kept looking to the side, her eyes cast down.

Lawyers for the pair told Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that little could be said in their mitigation, save their guilty pleas, demonstrative of their remorse and shame.

Earlier, prosecution QC David McDowell outlined in detail, too graphic to report, the couples’ perverted abuse of the youngster and of internet chats and boasts to other paedophiles, recovered on a variety of computer equipment seized from their home in October 2017.

Counsel explained a total of 47 indecent images, apparently recording three separate occasions of abuse, including rape, were taken of the toddler, which also showed the couple naked on some.

Mr McDowell said Heather Talbot “commented that it was, ‘just a fantasy that we carried too far’, before correcting herself, saying, ‘it was his fantasy, not mine really’,” before adding it was “not really” her fantasy, and that “she played along”.