Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Thursday, 26 July 2007 17:40 UK

Actor Langham 'abused as a child'

Chris Langham arriving at court on 26 July
Chris Langham was cleared of four charges and denies the rest

Actor Chris Langham was sexually abused as a child by a man who took him sailing while he was living in Canada with his family, a court has been told.

Giving evidence for the first time at his child sex trial, Mr Langham, 58, said it happened in a tent in Ontario.

Earlier jurors at Maidstone Crown Court had been directed to clear Mr Langham on four counts of indecent assault on a girl under 16 between 1996 and 1998.

He denies six more indecent assault charges and two of serious sex assault.

He also denies 15 counts of making an indecent image of a child in 2005.

Mr Langham, of Golford, near Cranbrook, Kent, told the court the abuse in Canada took place when he was eight.

He said he did not want to go into any detail, but he felt "deep, deep shame" about what had happened.

I did a very arrogant thing to not think that the law applied to me
Chris Langham

He then told jurors that he came across an indecent film of a child while searching on the internet for adult pornography in about January 2005.

"I opened it and it was not particularly vicious, but it was still a child. I closed it and I was very shaken by it," he said.

"I talked to my wife about it. I'm one of the children in the photographs."

Acting lessons

Mr Langham was in tears on Thursday as he insisted he was not a paedophile.

He has previously admitted viewing internet child pornography for research for the BBC television comedy series Help.

Referring to his arrest for accessing child porn, Mr Langham said: "They wanted to convict me on the basis I had an abnormal interest in children, that I'm a paedophile, and I'm not."

But he added: "I'd like to make it clear I am not taking the crime I committed lightly.

She's never been in my house with me alone
Chris Langham

"I did a very arrogant thing to not think that the law applied to me."

Mr Langham also gave evidence relating to the indecent assault and serious sexual assault charges he faces.

He has admitted having sex with the alleged victim - who is now aged 25 - when she was over 18, but he denies prosecution claims that they had intercourse when she was 14.

He said he gave the girl between four and six acting lessons while he was involved in a stage show in central London.

But replying to a direct question about whether he had sex with her at the theatre, Mr Langham said: "No, I can't agree with that.

"There is constantly a stream of visitors and chatting... on the dressing room stairs and in the dressing rooms.

"It's the most insane place to have an affair, the theatre."

He also denied having sex with her in hotels and at his home, saying: "She's never been in my house with me alone."

'No evidence'

Mr Langham said he had shown concern for the alleged victim because she was anorexic and had suffered bullying at school, but that by 1998 he was trying to "wind this down a bit".

However, he admitted that she went to his hotel while he was filming in Hertfordshire in 2001 - when the girl had turned 18 - and they had sex.

Earlier on Thursday, Judge Philip Statman directed the jury to clear Mr Langham on four of the indecent assault charges.

He said: "The Crown accepts that there is no evidence to support these particular counts on the indictment.

"May I please stress to you that this in no way affects your consideration of the other counts because you will be looking at the evidence separately in due course."

The trial continues.

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Details of Chris Langham's testimony

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