UK

Ex-DJ Chris Denning jailed for sex abuse

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Media captionA former victim of Chris Denning tells his story to Daniela Relph

Former BBC DJ Chris Denning has been jailed for 13 years for sexually abusing boys in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Denning - one of the original line-up of Radio 1 DJs in 1967 - was sentenced for 40 offences against 24 boys aged nine to 16.

Judge Alistair McCreath called Denning "utterly depraved" and said he "corrupted" boys at a "critical stage in their development".

The court heard the 73-year-old used his fame to "entice" boys.

This included taking some victims to recordings of Top of the Pops, and in other instances introducing them to celebrities including Jimmy Savile.

'Selfish pleasure'

Image caption Denning was among Radio 1's first DJs

One victim recalled being assaulted at Savile's house, while other assaults took place at locations including Denning's home and a computer game shop he owned in Poole, Dorset.

Neil Moore, prosecuting, said: "The defendant used the allure first of the record industry and celebrity, and then the world of computer games to entice boys into his company.

"He spoke to them about his career and the celebrities of the moment he knew."

Denning pleaded guilty to the 38 counts of indecent assault, a charge of gross indecency with a boy and another of indecency with a boy under the age of 14. The crimes were committed between 1967 and 1987.

Passing sentence at London's Southwark Crown Court, the judge told him: "It is not to be forgotten that all of this suffering was inflicted by you without thought for anything other than your own selfish pleasure."

'Enormously sorry'

He added: "You gave them alcohol and drugs. To some of them you gave money. You showed them pornographic material.

"You introduced them to inappropriate sexual behaviour by making it seem normal and exciting."

The abuse had a "devastating effect" on the boys - now middle-aged men - the judge added.

Denning wrote to the judge apologising to his victims - but the judge said the "only real mitigation" was the fact he pleaded guilty to the charges.

David Burgess, Denning's lawyer, said: "The years have passed and he in short failed to grasp the enormity of the consequences of his behaviour.

"He's enormously sorry for what he did to these boys then - men now - and that's something he will have to live with."

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Media captionCPS: "The extent of Denning's child sexual abuse was truly appalling"

Baljit Ubhey, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the extent of the abuse was "truly appalling".

"I hope that his jail sentence will be of some small comfort to his many victims who were brave enough to come forward," she added.

One victim - who visited Denning's home in Winchester in 1978 or 1979 - described it as an "Aladdin's cave" with lots of pornographic magazines. Another recalled a sleepover at the same property when "the lounge was full of boys".

The court heard Denning often recorded his assaults on video or with photographs, and told one victim that another boy who had caused him "trouble" would have compromising photos of himself dropped from a helicopter over his home town.

Denning was arrested in June 2013 under Operation Yewtree, the police investigation into allegations which arose after the sex abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile came to light. His arrest was under the strand of the investigation into offences not connected to Savile.

He has previously served prison sentences in the UK, Czech Republic and Slovakia for sexual offences involving young boys.

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