Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Langham wins early jail release

Chris Langham leaving jail
Chris Langham left jail after his prison term was reduced

Actor Chris Langham has been freed from jail after his 10-month prison sentence for downloading child pornography was reduced by the Court of Appeal.

The Bafta award-winner was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court in September after he was convicted on 15 counts of downloading images of children.

Langham, 58, who denied all charges, left Elmley Prison, Kent, on Wednesday after the term was cut by four months.

As he left, he said: "My life has been ruined but my conscience is clear."

In a prepared statement, the comedy actor said that reporting of the case had "completely ignored" the court's "acceptance based upon all the evidence and expert opinion that I have no sexual interest in children".

But he added: "Perhaps the media cannot be blamed for this misrepresentation when the judge, having accepted that I'm not a paedophile, then sent me to prison for 10 months as if I was."

I saw a tiny number of images of child abuse which I have always said were distressing, sickening and atrocious
Chris Langham

He said: "To set the record straight, I never paid to look at the material.

"I saw a tiny number of images of child abuse which I have always said were distressing, sickening and atrocious.

"I looked because I was writing about the subject of child abuse.

"My own abuse as a child made it important for me to attempt to address this subject in my writing.

"I was wrong to do so but I believe the price I have been asked to pay is out of all proportion."

When he was asked what the future held for him, he said: "I just don't know."

Abuse videos

During the trial, Langham claimed he viewed the images as research for a paedophile character.

The father-of-five, from Golford, near Cranbrook, Kent, had been due for release early in the New Year, when he would have served about half his sentence.

The comedy actor is well known for his starring role in the television drama The Thick Of It.

The jury in the trial cleared Langham of a further charge having sex with an under-age girl.

Langham was arrested in November 2005 when video files of child abuse were found on a computer, a laptop and an external hard disk drive at his home.

His appeal was allowed by Lord Justice Gage, Mr Justice Openshaw and Dame Heather Steel.

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Actor Chris Langham has his jail sentence cut


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