Chris Langham jailed over child pornography
Television actor and comedian Chris Langham has been jailed for ten months for downloading child pornography.
The 58-year-old Bafta-winning actor, who wept as he was sentenced, had downloaded images and videoclips of children as young as eight-years-old.
On Friday at Maidstone Crown Court, Judge Philip Statman said: “Some of the children viewed are clearly prepubescent, others are fully developed, some of the children are clearly of Filipino extract.
“All have had inflicted upon them horrifying sexual abuse and, I want to make this absolutely clear to you, I must think first of those children. They are too young to consent.
“When one sees their faces, in my judgment, they are vacant and lacking in expression … you never ever see the faces of the perpetrators.
“Your activity took place in the comfort of your own home, no doubt at the time feeling safe in the knowledge that you would never be caught.”
Langham will serve five months, minus the 43 days he has already spent in custody.
At his trial last month, the acclaimed star of the BBC political satire, The Thick of It, had been cleared of a further eight charges of sexually assaulting a schoolgirl.
Even though he had pleaded not guilty to charges of downloading indecent images of children, Langham, a twice-married father of five, had admitted from the start that he had stored them on his home computers between September and November 2005.
When police raided his house as part of Operation Ore they seized three computers containing video clips ranging in length from a few seconds to up to nearly six minutes.
The actor said he had only downloaded them to help him write the part of a paedophile character for Help, his comedy series about a psychiatrist and his patients.
However, his co-writer on the series, Paul Whitehouse failed to support his claim when he gave evidence in court.
Langham also said he had pleaded not guilty to the charges against him because he wanted to make a public declaration that he was not a paedophile.
During his testimony he sobbed as he said he himself had been abused as a child and looking at the images had helped him come to terms with his experiences.
However, the jury convicted him of 15 charges of downloading indecent images of children.
His trial also saw him accused of having sex with an under-age girl in upmarket hotels, his West End dressing room, his car and his home.
Langham denied the charges and the jury accepted his account that he only had sex with her when she was 18, clearing him of six counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery between January 1996 and April 2000.
As Langham left the court, he blew kisses at his three adult sons and his father in the public gallery.
Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham said: “There is no excuse for downloading and viewing images of child sex abuse.
“The video clips found on Christopher Langham’s computer were a high quality reproduction of real children in real abusive situations.
“Paedophiles viewing images creates a demand which encourages others to continue abusing and hurting children.”
After an early career blighted by alcoholism and drug abuse, Langham had found spectacular success in recent years.
His role as bumbling Government minister Hugh Abbott in The Thick of It earned him the best comedy performer at last year’s Baftas. The satire also won best sitcom, while Help a second series of the BBC2 show Help, was named best comedy programme.
However on release from prison, his career is likely to be ruined.
Speaking after his arrest, Langham said: “My life has completely fallen apart. Offers of work have almost entirely disappeared, at a time when I was looking forward to something of a golden year.”
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