Prosecutor commends bravery of victim in 'grave and distressing' case

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A County Down couple have today been sentenced for sexually abusing a toddler. Gary Talbot was sentenced to 15 years, half to be spent in custody, and Heather Talbot was sentenced to nine years, six in custody and three years on license.  

Senior Public Prosecutor and Higher Court Advocate Joseph Murphy said: “The PPS Serious Crime Unit worked closely with the PSNI to build a robust prosecution case, which resulted in Gary and Heather Talbot pleading guilty to a number of serious sexual offences against a child.

“Gary Talbot pleaded guilty to offences including the rape of a child, sexual assault and taking and distributing indecent images. Heather Talbot pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting her husband in the rape of a child, indecent assault, gross indecency and taking indecent photographs.

 “This is a particularly grave and distressing case of abuse against a very young child who was aged just 18 months when the Talbots started to violate her.   

 “Gary Talbot entered guilty pleas at an early stage. 

“At police interview, Heather Talbot had admitted being present when some of the indecent images were taken, but denied taking any of the photos or assisting her husband in abusing the child. The PPS directed an expert report to prove the photographs were taken by manual operation of a hand held camera, proving Heather Talbot must have taken all of them.  

“Heather Talbot entered guilty pleas after her lawyers examined all of the images and agreed the PPS expert report was accurate. This saved the victim from the upsetting experience of having to give evidence in court. 

“The positive outcome in this case was achieved through collaborative working with the PSNI. 

“I want to commend the bravery shown by the victim, who is now an adult, and her family throughout the criminal justice process.”