Graham Ovenden convicted of child sex offences

An internationally renowned artist has been convicted of sex offences against children.

A jury at Truro crown court found Graham Ovenden, 70, guilty of four charges of indecency with a child. On the direction of Judge Graham Cottle, the jury cleared Ovenden of three charges of indecent assault. After further deliberations, the jury of seven men and five women also found Ovenden guilty, by a majority of 10-2, of two further charges of indecency and one of indecent assault. He was acquitted of two further charges of indecent assault. Ovenden, a former pupil under Sir Peter Blake who has had work exhibited in galleries across the globe, was not present in court to see the jury return the verdicts having been taken ill over the weekend. Christopher Quinlan QC, defending, told the judge that Ovenden was resting at home having received treatment at Derriford hospital in Plymouth. The judge adjourned sentence to a date to be fixed but told counsel that the hearing would take place at Plymouth crown court. Ovenden was released on bail. Ovenden denied all the charges relating to four children – now all adults – between 1972 and 1985. The incidents, involving young girls, are said to have taken place at Ovenden's former and current addresses, in London and Cornwall, respectively. Ovenden had been described in court by prosecutor Ramsay Quaife as a paedophile who abused children while they modelled for him. The charges relate to four claimants, who contacted police long after the abuse is alleged to have taken place, and only when they realised exactly what had happened to them as girls, the court heard. Ovenden denied the abuse ever happened. He told the court he had taken pictures of children – including those in various states of undress – but said they were not indecent. He also described the "witch-hunt" against those who produce work involving naked children, accusing police of "falsifying" images recovered from his home computer. Ovenden, who lives near Bodmin Moor in ornwall, denies having a sexual interest in children. If you have an interest or were affected by this article please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.

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