Langham out early

Appeal court cuts sentence

Chris Langham was released from jail on Wednesday night after winning a new appeal against his 10-month prison sentence for downloading child pornography.

The Thick Of It actor has had his sentence reduced by four months by three Court of Appeal judges.

Until yesterday’s ruling, he had been due for release from Elmley Prison, Kent, early in the New Year, when he would have served about half his sentence.

His wife, Christine Cartwright, had claimed Langham had been verbally abused in jail, where other prisoners threw missiles at him and flooded his cell.

The 58-year-old actor was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court in September after he was convicted of 15 counts of downloading sick images of children.

He denied the charges, saying he viewed the images as research for a character in the BBC Two comedy Help, and did not want to be branded a ‘paedophile’.

Police said many of the downloads found on Langham's computer were of the worst category, ‘level 5’, and had titles such as Kiddy 11-year-old and Pre-Teen Sex Education.

The father-of-five, from Golford, near Cranbrook, Kent, last month lost an application to appeal his sentence, but the second appeal was granted by Lord Justice Gage, Mr Justice Openshaw and Dame Heather Steel.

Steel said the court regarded his explanations as ‘highly improbable’ but added that it could not reject his claims that he was not a paedophile.

She said: ‘The major ground of appeal is that the sentence was manifestly excessive ... and that Langham's motivation for downloading the indecent images was not one of sexual gratification.’

Published: 14 Nov 2007

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