UK & World News
Artist Ovenden Jailed Over Child Sex Offences
Artist Graham Ovenden has been jailed after judges ruled his non-custodial sentence for child sex offences was "unduly lenient".
Court of Appeal judges sentenced the internationally-renowned painter to two years and three months in prison.
Ovenden, from Cornwall, abused children who posed for him in the 1970s and 1980s, and was convicted in April of six charges of indecency with a child and one of indecent assault relating to three girls.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with two other judges in London, quashed the suspended 12-month prison sentence the 70-year-old initially received and said Ovenden had not shown a "shred of remorse" for his victims
The judges also rejected Ovenden's application for permission to appeal the conviction, ruling that the verdicts were "safe".
When he was arrested the artist, whose youngest victim was just six, told police he had a "major reputation" for having "some of the best portraits of children in the last 200 years".
Ovenden claimed that his interest in young girls was artistic and not sexual - but that claim was rejected by the three judges.
Lord Thomas said the girls had "no understanding of the true purpose" behind what Ovenden was doing.
He said: "There was no doubt that his purpose was sexual. There is no doubt that he had a sexual interest in children."
When considering the appropriate sentence the court had to have regard to the fact that the only mitigation Ovenden had was his former good character and his age.
Lord Thomas added that against that "there are a very large number of aggravating factors", including the "very serious impact on the victims, magnified by the way in which he had grossly manipulated them and degraded them by the photographs he had taken".
Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP, decided to refer the 70-year-old's case to the Court of Appeal in July.
Speaking after the hearing, 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.
"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."