Langham guilty over child porn

...but cleared of indecent assault

Chris Langham has been cleared of indecently assaulting a 14-year-old girl but convicted of downloading child porn.

He is now behind bars, on remand until his sentence on September 14. It was last night reported that prison officers have put him on suicide watch.

Forensic science experts found more than a dozen video clips of girls as young as seven being sexually abused, raped and tortured on three computers at Langham’s Kent home.

The clips had titles such as ‘Kiddy 11-year-old’, ‘13-year-old pre-teen underage’ and ‘Pre-teen sex education’.

Many of the videos found had been downloaded in the early hours of the day before Langham’s arrest in November 2005 under the Operation Ore clampdown on child pornography.

The 58-year-old star claimed he was researching a character for his BBC Two comedy Help, but the jury at Maidstone Crown Court rejected that after hearing evidence from co-writer Paul Whitehouse.

During his trial, Langham also revealed that he was abused as a child, and argued he was trying to make sense of what happened to him.

He was found guilty of 15 counts related to the downloading of images. As the verdicts were returned he stood with his eyes closed.

A pre-sentence report will now be compiled to gauge what threat he poses, but he was remanded in custody because the images were classed as level five, the most serious category.

Judge Statman told Langham: ‘In my judgment, and I have thought long and hard about this, it would a misplaced kindness to give you bail at this stage.’

After less than three hours of deliberation, the jury decided that Langham did not abuse a 14-year-old, who claimed he took her virginity in a London hotel room around a decade ago. He befriended the girl at the stage door of Les Miserables, gave her acting tips and showed her around the capital.

But the court heard how she had a history of making allegations of sexual abuse and of relationships with older men, and that she was trying to destroy Langham through spite after he lost interest in her.

Published: 2 Aug 2007

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