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Comedy Actor given ‘lenient’ jail sentence for viewing child porn

LONDON (AFP) — Child campaigners Saturday voiced anger at the ‘lenient’ 10 month jail sentence given to award-winning comedy actor Chris Langham for downloading indecent videos of children from the Internet.

The Bafta-winning star of ‘Help’ and ‘The Thick Of It’ was told he would serve only half his sentence but still broke down in tears at Maidstone Crown Court.

Child welfare campaigners showed no sympathy for the actor and immediately branded the sentence as “outrageous”.

Victims of Crime Trust director Norman Brennan told the Daily Mirror that others would not be deterred by the lenient sentence given to Langham .

“This will act as absolutely no deterrent to someone who is obviously a very depraved individual,” he said Saturday.

“We cannot lose sight of how serious this man’s crimes really are, and it is an outrage that he will be out so soon.

“The government and judiciary talk about how seriously they will treat these sickening crimes, but yet again they have handed out an unbelievably lenient sentence,” he added.

NSPCC chief Diana Sutton agreed that Langham got off lightly after the actor admitted that he downloaded files with names such as ‘teenage girl raped on beach by five guys’, ‘bondage 11-year-old’, and ‘Philippine child prostitute’.

“There is no excuse for downloading images of children being raped. Langham contributed to the suffering and degradation of those children,” she said.

Langham was convicted last month on 15 charges, despite claiming that he was researching a paedophile character for a television drama and trying to make sense of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

Judge Philip Statman said the 58-year-old actor would spend five months in prison — less the 43 days he has already spent in custody.

“Some of the children viewed are clearly prepubescent, others are fully developed, some of the children are clearly of Filipino extract,” said Judge Statman.

“All have had inflicted upon them horrifying sexual abuse and, I want to make this absolutely clear to you, I must first think of those children. They are too young to consent.”

“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,” added the judge.

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

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