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Child Abuse Artist Jailed

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7:13am 10th October 2013
(Updated 7:13am 10th October 2013)

A Cornish artist has been jailed for a catalogue of child abuse. 

Graham Ovenden originally walked free from court after being given a suspended sentence for six counts of indecency and one of indecent assault stretching back around forty years.

Now he is starting a 27 month stint in prison.

The seventy year old from Barley Splatt on Bodmin Moor has always denied the charges, telling reporters there was a witch hunt and that he was, "probably twenty times more intelligent than most people."

On Wednesday, judges at London's Court of Appeal decided the twelve month sentence suspended for two years was too lenient.

They were asked to consider the case by the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who has already said it was nowhere near tough enough.

The original judge who presided over the case said he had considered Ovenden's age, health and the fact that his reputation had been "severely tarnished."

The artist has had his work exhibited in galleries across the world, although The Tate has pulled a number of pictures from its online collection following his conviction.

The Attorney General said: "Graham Ovenden committed terrible sexual offences against vulnerable young girls who were in his charge and ought to have felt safe. He manipulated them and abused his position of trust.

"The Court of Appeal agrees the twelve month suspended sentence handed to him was unduly lenient, and I am satisfied they have replaced it with 27 months custody.

"It is right that sexual crimes, whether committed many years ago or more recently, should be punished appropriately.

"Today the court affirmed this and sent a clear message that people who have behaved in this way in the past will face the consequences through the courts."

Sally Piper works with victims of sexual abuse in Truro. She told Pirate FM they had noticed an increase in victims asking for help since the Jimmy Savile scandal: "We've certainly seen an increase in adults coming forward and talking about their historic experiences as children. There's been a big increase in that.

"They may not want to go through the criminal justice system - but at least they want to access some support."

7:13am 10th October 2013

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