Chris Denning jailed for sexually abusing 24 boys

Chris Denning can be seen second from left in the front row of 1968's gathering of DJs to mark Radio 1's first birthday. Picture: Getty
Chris Denning can be seen second from left in the front row of 1968's gathering of DJs to mark Radio 1's first birthday. Picture: Getty
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Former Radio 1 DJ Chris Denning has been jailed for 13 years for sexually assaulting 24 boys – including one allegedly at Jimmy Savile’s house.

Denning, 73, “used the allure of the record industry and celebrity” to seduce and groom his victims. He took boys to watch Top of the Pops recordings and introduced them to a string of stars, including Savile.

He began assaulting the boys in 1967 – the same year he was unveiled as one of the founding DJs at Radio 1. He continued his campaign of abuse against boys as young as ten over the next two decades.

He later opened a string of computer games shops and used the “exceptionally exciting” technology to prey on boys.

Judge Alistair McCreath told Denning at Southwark Crown Court: “You groomed all these boys. They were, for the most part, in their early teens, though some of them were younger.

“You used your own fame, your acquaintance with others who were famous, many of them now to be described more as notorious than as famous, your familiarity with the music industry, your possession of computers and computer games and other devices to win their trust and misplaced admiration.

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“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.”

He said Denning subjected his victims to “inappropriate and utterly depraved” abuse which had a “devastating effect” on the boys, now middle-aged men. Around a dozen of his victims sat at the back of court and looked at their former tormentor as sentence was passed.

Denning, of Basildon in Essex, who wore a hearing loop, gave a nod and glanced at his victims as he was handed the jail term.

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 he knew.

“He gave them access to pornographic material and gave them the means to do what they wanted in order to groom them.He took them to meals and took them to celebrity parties.”

Mr Moore said Denning gradually introduced his victims to porn before abusing them, taking pictures and videos of some of the boys. He persuaded the parents of his victims his intentions were innocent and to let their sons stay at his home.

Mr Moore described how Denning sexually assaulted dozens of boys over the next 20 years while at the height of his fame. Some of his victims say they were abused up to 60 times.

Denning singled out his victims at skateparks, youth centres and discos. One victim told how Denning took him back to his home, and called it an “Aladdin’s cave” of pornography.

Mr Moore said Denning took one boy, aged 12-14, to watch Top of the Pops before repeatedly abusing him at his home.

One of his victims was 14 or 15 when he was abused by Denning. He said it happened at Savile’s home – although Savile is not said to have been involved.

Denning admitted 40 assaults – 36 counts of indecent assault on a male and four indecent assaults on a child. He has a string of convictions for sex offences on boys.

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