Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Thursday, 2 August 2007 18:50 UK

Actor convicted over child porn

Chris Langham arriving at court on 26 July
Chris Langham had pleaded not guilty to all the charges

Actor Chris Langham has been found guilty of downloading child porn.

Langham, of Golford, Kent, said he was only studying the porn as research for a television drama - but he was convicted at Maidstone Crown Court.

However, the 58-year-old actor has been acquitted of charges of indecently assaulting an underage girl and two counts of a serious sexual offence.

Judge Philip Statman remanded the Bafta winning comedy performer in custody for sentencing on 14 September.

The jury of seven men and four women deliberated for about two hours and 40 minutes before they returned their verdicts.

'No knowledge'

Langham claimed in court that he had looked at the images while formulating a character for the BBC series Help.

He said he pleaded not guilty because he did not want to be called a paedophile.

I have been found guilty on charges I have made admission to from the moment of my first arrest
Chris Langham

While giving evidence his Help co-star, comedian Paul Whitehouse, told the court he did not know Langham used child porn for research.

During his time in the witness box, Langham said when he was eight he had been the victim of abuse while on holiday in Canada. He said he did not want to go into any detail, but he felt "deep, deep shame" about what had happened.

Langham, who was convicted on 15 charges of downloading child porn, also told the jury victims of abuse were his "brothers and sisters" and he felt no shame in looking at child pornography.

When asked by the prosecution why he had saved images on to his computer, he replied: "I thought if I could become angry enough I might be able to break this problem I have in accessing this stuff myself."

The actor was acquitted of indecently assaulting an underage girl, who is now 25 and cannot be identified for legal reasons.

She had claimed in court that he had taken her virginity at the age of 14 and they had also had sex at his home and in his dressing room.

Langham denied all the charges. But he did say he had had one sexual encounter between them when she was 18.

The jury were directed to clear the actor of four other indecent assault charges part way through the trial.

'Harrowing and disturbing'

In a statement read out by his solicitor, Langham said: "I am absolutely delighted my name has been cleared of all the charges I have consistently denied.

"I have been found guilty on charges I have made admission to from the moment of my first arrest.

Viewing such images simply perpetuates child abuse
Det Insp Derek Cuff

"I am grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation and I would also like to thank the press for their restraint in not making the lives of my wife, children and family difficult during this time and I implore them to continue to grant my family the privacy they need.

"I am afraid I am unable to comment further until sentence on the 14 September."

Det Insp Derek Cuff, of Kent Police, said: "Let us not forget that child abuse images circulating on the internet are real situations involving real children, who are sexually abused for other's gain and self-gratification.

"Viewing such images simply perpetuates child abuse."

Ken Goss of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The images found on his computer were not child pornography. They were horrific images, still and video clips, of children being sexually abused. Chris Langham actively searched for those images."

video and audio news
Background to Chris Langham's trial

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific