Appeal judges to hear case of sex abuse artist
Cornish artist Graham Ovenden, who was allowed to walk free from court after he was found guilty of a catalogue of child abuse, will next week hear top judges rule on whether he should be behind bars.
The country's top law officer, Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC, says Ovenden's suspended sentence was too lenient and is asking Appeal Court judges to lock him up.
Ovenden, 70, was convicted of six counts of indecency and one of indecent assault, at Truro Crown Court in April. The offences dated back 40 years. Judge Graham Cottle gave him a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.
The artist, of Barley Splatt, near Bodmin Moor, has had work exhibited in galleries across the world. He was described as "a paedophile" by prosecutors and had abused four children – now all adults – between 1972 and 1985 while they modelled for him.
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Ovenden denied his crimes and forced his victims to give evidence in the witness box. A large number of prints by the artist were removed from the Tate Gallery's online collection following his conviction.
Sentencing, Judge Cottle said he had to consider Ovenden's age, health and the damage to his reputation as an artist which had been "severely tarnished".
But judges at London's Court of Appeal will next week consider the claim that Ovenden should get a substantial jail term.