The soft sentence that even surprised a pervert: Judge FREES artist who sexually abused three children as young as six while they posed for his paintings
•Graham Ovenden, 70,molested young girls he used as models
•Judge said it was 'unrealistic' to assume offences were isolated incidents
•Artist's work once hung in the Tate and the Victoria and Albert museum
•Victims abused between 1972 and 1985 in London and Bodmin, Cornwall
•Ovenden refuses to apologise and said he has committed no crime
•He says he has been through 'considerable hell'
By Luke Salkeld
PUBLISHED:16:16, 4 June 2013 | UPDATED:02:33, 5 June 2013
An internationally renowned artist who molested young girls he used as models walked free from court yesterday.
Child abuse campaigners said the suspended sentence on 70-year-old Graham Ovenden was 'outrageous’ and sent out the message that such crimes are not taken seriously.
But the judge said he had taken account of the artist’s age and his 'irreversibly tarnished reputation’.
Ovenden, whose work has been exhibited at major galleries including The Tate in London, invited girls as young as six to sit for portraits and photographs.
Free man: Shamed artist Graham Ovenden, 70, pictured arriving at Plymouth Crown Court today, escaped with a 12 month suspended sentence
He would blindfold his victims and make them wear Victorian nightwear before removing the clothing and committing indecent acts, a jury heard.
The artist was found guilty in April, but left court yesterday after he was sentenced insisting arrogantly that he had been the victim of a 'witch-hunt’ and had 'been through considerable hell’.
Asked if he thought everybody was wrong apart from him, he replied: 'Since I’m probably 20 times more intelligent than most people I think that would be a very reasonable assumption.’
His self-assessment does not match the description of him in court as 'a paedophile, a sexual abuser of children’.
•Teacher 'raped 15-year-old pupil after reading her diary and finding out she had a crush on him'
Suggesting that he would be appealing the guilty verdict, Ovenden added: 'I am not backing down and under no circumstances am I apologising for crimes that were never committed.’
The jury chose to believe the evidence that showed Ovenden was a predatory child abuser who assaulted young girls in incidents dating back between 25 and 40 years at his former home in Hounslow, West London, as well as at his studio in Cornwall.
On his way to court yesterday the artist said Judge Graham Cottle, who could have put him behind bars, was a 'poisonous man’.
'Fallen from grace': Ovenden, 70, was placed on the Sex Offender's register for five years by the judge
But as he left court Ovenden said: 'I am quite gobsmacked and I have to thank Judge Cottle for his judgment this time. With the language he used one anticipated getting banged up.’
He denied suggestions that his victims were traumatised by what he put them through as 'complete and utter b*******’.
Judge Cottle had told Ovenden: 'You would take the children to your studio to photograph them. They had no understanding at that time what you were doing.
Shamed: At the peak of his popularity, Ovenden's paintings sold for £25,000-a-time and were displayed at London¿s Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
'There can be no doubt that at that time you had a sexual interest in children.’ But the judge then justified his decision to suspend a 12-month prison sentence for two years, saying the artist no longer posed a threat to children.
Adding that guidelines allowed for a jail term of up to five years, the judge told Plymouth Crown Court: 'I take into account your age, the age of the offences, the considerable self-inflicted punishment that comes with your convictions, your steep fall from grace and your irreversibly tarnished reputation.’
Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: 'It’s an absolutely outrageous decision.
'The judiciary is sending out the message that this crime is not taken seriously.’
Ovenden, who lives on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, was convicted of six charges of indecency with a child and one allegation of indecent assault, relating to three children. He was cleared of five further charges.
Share or comment on this article
. . .
MOST READ NEWS
Police raid Tulisa's mansion as she and rapper friend are...
Roadhogs to face £100 fines: Crackdown on motorway drivers...
Terrifying moment climber hangs from crane by one hand at...
Four generations of monarchy gather to celebrate 60 years...
Devastation of bride-to-be whose fiancé was beaten to death...
Horrifying image of 'woman in red' being sprayed with tear...
Teacher's tears for Daniel, 4, as she describes his 'sad,...
Beautiful Bollywood actress found dead at home after telling...
Disgraced soldier who abused Afghan boy cannot be identified...
The soft sentence that even surprised a pervert: Judge FREES...
Semi-naked photos commissioned by Reeva Steenkamp for a...
'Migrants are harder workers than Britons': Speaker John...
Ads by Google
5 Foods you must not eat: Trimdownclub.comCut down a bit of stomach fat every day by never eating these 5 foods.
Cheapest Sovereigns £235 BullionByPost.co.uk/2013-Sovereigns1% OFF 2013 Gold Sovereigns UK. Lowest Prices & Free UK Delivery.
Pre-Paid Funeral Plans www.GoldenCharter.co.ukDownload Our Free Brochure About Saving In Advance For Your Funeral
Find Greek Suppliers www.exportgate.grDirectory of Greek Exporters. Find Your Ideal Business Partner Here...
MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS
Labrinth executes stage dive fail at uni gig
A different Chinese shoplifter gets her shirt cut and...
Sexy Israeli soldiers is a YouTube trend - fan video
Singapore Airlines passengers rocked by EXTREME turbulence
Riding aboard Japan's super-fast Maglev trian
Beautiful Bollywood actress found dead
WATCH: Cheerios commercial target of racist abuse
Hilarious! Israeli politician gets the giggles making speech...
Do you dare take on world's largest 'spokeless' Ferris...
Secret footage of German army drone in collision scare with...
Duchess of Cambridge looks glamorous at Queen's Coronation...
Choupette Lagerfeld plays with HER iPad
Add your comments
The comments below have been moderated in advance.
I'm lost for words, with judges like this clown there's no hope of justice being done.
- MrMesh , UK and beyond, 04/6/2013 23:29
Click to rate Rating 214
Who judges the judges?!
- Bunny , Halifax, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 23:27
Click to rate Rating 189
If these laws are coming out of the 'eu' to me it says it all about what a sick bunch of evil people they really are hiding behind a title that has nothing to do with their real agenda. Hidden in the 'treaty' signed by b-liar are laws that allow pedophiles to abuse children and even babies, what else could be going on here, we have to put 2+2 together and come up with the right answer.
- An Englishwoman , Newcastle UK-Tampa FL, 04/6/2013 23:19
Click to rate Rating 80
This absolutely proves what I have long suspected - some judges - and Judge Graham Cottle of Exeter in particular - are giving lenient sentences for pedophiles. This is the latest in a long line of similar cases where young kids have been sexually abused where the person convicted has got away with a soft sentence. Don't know what is behind it, but it is definitely a change that has occured. Not long ago a judge and a RN senior officer were both jailed judge for LOOKING at child sex abuse images they had downloaded on the net. Now men like this walk free. Where is the deterance value in this kind of sentence. The judge is completely barking, howling, mad. Someone should look at this judge's form and start asking whether this is Dept of Justice policy, or simply Judge's Cottle's policy.
- Mike , Kirkbymoorside, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 23:18
Click to rate Rating 131
Members of the elite have to have racked up body counts that need an accountant to track before they get punished.
- Ben Russell-Gough , London, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 23:15
Click to rate Rating 87
He got off because he was a posh bloke. Happens all the time..
- zantefan , Filey, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 23:05
Click to rate Rating 96
I don't understand???
- BuntyBear , Dorset UK, 04/6/2013 23:00
Click to rate Rating 69
Why no sentence? Disgusting.
- A person , All, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 22:57
Click to rate Rating 99
Only in Britain - pedophiles' paradise.
- AS , USUAL, United States, 04/6/2013 22:57
Click to rate Rating 115
"The problem of child sexuality is a problem of the Anglo-Saxon Christian fundamentalist". - no, the problem is that sick perverts like you get away with abuse and say it's in the name of art and, unbelievably, that their victims "loved it". So your reputation is damaged - boo hoo - how about the damage that you've done to these children.
- Sommie , Somerset, United Kingdom, 04/6/2013 22:55
Click to rate Rating 107