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Ian Watkins sentenced to 29 years in prison

By | Published on Wednesday 18 December 2013

Ian Watkins

Former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for the sexual abuse of children, plus a six year licence after his release. Two female accomplices, who cannot be named in order to protect their children, who were victims in the case, received fourteen years and seventeen years.

As previously reported, last month Watkins admitted to various charges, including attempting to rape an eleven month old baby, as well as making and possessing images of the sexual abuse of children. Cardiff Crown Court was this morning told that these images included the worst levels of abuse possible.

When he changed his plea to guilty, Watkins’ lawyer Sally O’Neill said that the singer could not remember the incidents of child abuse he was accused of – and again reiterated today that he had “no recollection” of these events – though the attempted rape had been captured on video and was found by police in a cloud storage account operated by Watkins.

The court was told this morning that phonecalls made from prison in the days after his admission seemed to show that his claim to not be able to remember anything were fabricated. In one call, he said: “It was like either me go up there and say ‘Come on, it wasn’t that bad, nobody got hurt’. I do my charm or do I end up making things worse for myself or do I just say I was off my head and can’t remember?”

Discussing today’s sentencing, he added: “I’m going to put a statement on the eighteenth now just to say it was ‘megalolz’, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about”.

Asked if he would still issue this statement, Watkins told the court: “No, it’s just lols now”.

In another call he denied his guilt, saying: “It’s so hard. There’s a lot of fucking meaningless bullshit like chat that I did to show off when I was fucking off my head. There was no medical evidence, nobody was harmed at all. I’m not a paedophile, I’m not. You know I pled guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising ‘Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty’ but I would never harm anybody”.

In a lengthy mitigation speech, O’Neill argued that Watkins should receive a reduced sentence on the grounds that his guilty plea avoided the need for a trial. She also argued that an “obsession” with sex and being “quite addicted to a variety of drugs”, coupled with being bombarded with offers of sex from fans over social media (often feature “extraordinary depravity”), had meant he’d become carried away.

She added: “I don’t for one moment pretend that Ian Watkins didn’t fully take part and reciprocate in these fantasies but it is marked that often the initiator was the fan, whether it is one of the co-defendants or not”.

O’Neill continued the line that Watkins could not remember his attempted rape of a baby, saying that he was “very shocked” when he saw the video of it, adding that he is “ashamed and appalled by what has happened” and is keen to seek help for his drug and alcohol problems.

The lawyers for the two women sentenced alongside him rebuked claims that they had manipulated a drug-addled Watkins into trying to have sex with their children, both saying that it was the singer who had initiated all of the incidents they were involved in.

Lawyer for ‘Woman A’ Jonathan Fuller said that she was “certainly not an obsessive fan seeking out this individual” but was “vulnerable and exploited and allowed herself to be so”. Meanwhile, Christine Laing, speaking for ‘Woman B’, acknowledged that her client was a “major” fan of Watkins and said that he had used this to manipulate her, referring to himself as “your master” in messages to her and telling her “you and your daughter now belong to me”.

In sentencing, the judge Mr Justice Royce told the defendants that their actions plumbed “new depths of depravity”, adding: “Any decent person looking at or listening to material here would experience shock, revulsion, anger and incredulity”.

He also said that while judges are used to presiding over “horrific” cases, this one “breaks new ground”. In this summing up, he also revealed that Watkins had told a probation officer that he may have committed worse abuse had he not been arrested, but Royce found it “difficult to imagine anything much worse” than the acts he had already carried out.

Royce said that Watkins had shown “evident delight” in abusing children, and “an almost complete lack of remorse” since his arrest. He added that the singer poses a “significant risk” to young women and children.