TV weatherman Fred Talbot's trial halted after he injures his head in fall as he leaves witness box

The 65-year-old has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks after he suffered a cut to his forehead

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The Independent Online

The sex abuse trial of former television weatherman Fred Talbot has been halted after he injured his head when he fell into a table as he left the witness box.

The 65-year-old has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks after he suffered a cut to his forehead when he tumbled into a facing table.

There were gasps from the public gallery as he fell after appearing to miss a step to the right of the box at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

Talbot groaned on the floor and looked dazed as he was eventually helped to his feet, after a court clerk rushed to his aid.

The court was then cleared as Talbot was propped up against a table.

The incident occurred as the jury was sent out for a break after Talbot had started to give evidence in his defence against allegations that he indecently assaulted five schoolboys between the late 1960s and early 1980s during his former career as a teacher.

Talbot had been in the witness box for about 20 minutes as he answered questions about his early life and career.

The jury was sent out for a break shortly before 11.50pm, swiftly followed by Judge Timothy Mort. Moments later, Talbot suffered his accident.

The jury was later called back in by Judge Mort and told that proceedings had come to an end for the day.

The judge told them: "After you left the room, and I did, Mr Talbot leaving the witness box missed his footing and banged his head against the side of one of these structures.

"He was treated to see if he could be patched up with plaster but the paramedics came and they decided because it was a head injury he really ought to have it checked out so he has gone to MRI (Manchester Royal Infirmary) by ambulance, I'm afraid."

The case was then adjourned until 10am tomorrow.

The start of the court day had earlier been delayed for an hour following a fire drill.

Giving evidence, Talbot had told the jury he went into teaching to "change the world."

The court heard Talbot had spent three years at teaching training college in Newcastle from the age of 18. He later took up his teaching post at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys before embarking on his television career, during which he has worked for ITV and Granada TV.

Asked if he had worked in television once the present allegations had been made, the freelance presenter said: "No. Not earned a penny."

Talbot told the court he was gay as he was questioned about his attitudes to the laws surrounding homosexuality when he was a young man.

The age of consent for homosexuals was 21 before it was lowered to 18 in 1994 and then reduced again to 16 in 2001.

Talbot told the court: "I thought it was terrible. It was 16 for everyone else and I wanted it be 16.

"It caused a lot of problems for many people."

Asked by his barrister, Suzanne Goddard QC, at what age did he start to think he may be homosexual, Talbot told the court: "About 14. I knew there was something very unusual for me at 14. When I was in the sixth form a few people guessed and made my life a sheer misery."

Miss Goddard asked Talbot whether it was something he was prepared to be open about, to which he replied, "Oh no."

He went on to say: "When I was about 16 I did have a girlfriend for a time. I was not totally sure but I think I knew ... but there was nobody to turn to."

He said he had "one-night stands" with girls during his teenage years. He added that he had "sexual contact" with boys and older men.

Miss Goddard asked him: "What did that amount to?"

"Masturbation, I suppose," Talbot replied.

The jury has previously heard that Talbot kept diaries from the age of 12 which had been recovered by the police but diaries had not been found for the years 1972, 1973 to 1975, 1978, 1979, 2000 and 2004.

Talbot said he had not kept diaries for those years and denied he had either hidden or destroyed them.

Four of the complainants were teenage pupils at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where Talbot taught biology, while the other was a pupil in Gateshead.

Talbot denies anything sexual or inappropriate occurring between himself and the Altrincham pupils.

He admits consensual sexual activity took place with the latter pupil but that it only happened when the complainant turned 16.

Talbot, of Bowdon, Greater Manchester, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of indecent assault.

Additional reporting by PA