Appeal of artist paedophile Graham Ovenden's 'unduly lenient' sentence mooted to Attorney General


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The Independent Culture

The Attorney General is considering referring the sentence of an internationally renowned artist from Cornwall to the Court of Appeal to see if it was "unduly lenient".

Paedophile Graham Ovenden, 70, was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years by a judge on Tuesday.

The sentence had sparked an outcry among child abuse campaigners and now Dominic Grieve QC MP, the Attorney General, is to consider referring the case to the Court of Appeal.

Mr Grieve has 28 days from the date of sentence to make the referral under the "unduly lenient" scheme, a spokeswoman confirmed.

The artist, who studied under the so-called "Godfather of Pop-Art" Sir Peter Blake, had been convicted of six charges of indecency with a child and one allegation of indecent assault relating to three girls following a trial in April.

Ovenden, of The Garage, Barley Splatt near Bodmin Moor, denied all the charges relating to four children now all adults between 1972 and 1985.

At Plymouth Crown Court, Judge Graham Cottle told the artist that the guidelines allowed for a jail term of up to five years but he considered that he no longer posed a threat to children.

"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," the judge said.

Judge Cottle said that Ovenden was motivated by a sexual interest in children.

"The girls involved in this indictment had no understanding at that time of the true purpose of what you were doing and that purpose was undoubtedly sexual," he added.

Outside court, Ovenden maintained 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."

He insisted he would be appealing and added: "I am quite gobsmacked and I have to thank Judge Cottle for his judgment this time but with the language he used one anticipated getting banged up.

"What is a sexual image? You need to see them.

"The problem of child sexuality is a problem first and foremost a problem of the Anglo-Saxon Christian fundamentalist. All this anguish has come from America."

Ovenden denied the victims in the case were traumatised by what he put them through - describing it as "complete and utter bollocks".

"In fact she absolutely loved it and most of them carried on modelling for me well into adulthood," Ovenden maintained.