December 18, 2013 10:44
Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years in prison for child sex offences
The 36-year-old singer recently pleaded guilty to 13 sexual offences, including two of attempting to rape a baby
The 36-year-old singer pleaded guilty to 13 sexual offences, including two of attempting to rape a baby, in court last month (November 26) and was sentenced by Mr Justice Royce in Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday (December 18). He received a prison term of 29 years and an extended license of six years, and will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence before he can be considered for release.
His two female co-defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons and were instead referred to as Mother A and Mother B, were also sentenced to 14 and 17 years in jail respectively.
During sentencing, Royce said that Watkins posed a "significant risk" to women and children and that he and his two female co-defendants had plumbed "new depths of depravity" and that the case was so extreme it "breaks new ground". He told them: "Any decent person looking at or listening to material here would experience shock, revulsion, anger and incredulity."
Royce also revealed that Watkins, who was said to be shaking during the sentencing hearing, had told his probation officers that he was not sure what further lengths he would have gone to with children if he had not been arrested. He also said that the singer had shown a "complete lack of remorse" for his actions and had taken "evident delight" in them.
He told Watkins and one of the anonymous defendants, referred to in court as Woman A, that a film they had made of Watkins attempting to rape her son was "sickening and incomprehensible" and said that she had "betrayed" the trust of her child.
Although the court had previously been told the child would not recall the incident, Royce read from a report which claimed they would eventually grow up to remember what happened. "In all it's a dreadful catalogue of abuse of a previously innocent boy to satisfy your own interests and lusts," he said.
In reference to Woman B, meanwhile, he said that messages exchanged between her and Watkins concerning her daughter "defied belief" and that they had viewed the child as a "sex object".
According to Wales Online, Watkins had "looked nervous" when he arrived at court earlier this morning. He and the co-defendants waited in the dock as the court was told of the severity of the images found on Watkins' hard drive.
It was revealed that the frontman had made a phone call from prison after entering his guilty plea (November 26) in which he claimed he wanted to release a statement when he was sentenced saying: "It was megalolz, I don't know what everyone is getting so freaked out about."
In another phone call, he told a friend that "there was no medical evidence" and "nobody was harmed", adding: "I'm not a paedophile, I'm not. You know I plead[ed] guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising 'Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty' but I would never harm anybody." Asked whether he still thought the case was "megalolz", meanwhile, he replied: "No, it's just lols now."
But Watkins' QC Sally O'Neill said that the singer now wanted to apologise for his behaviour. "He does wish, for what it's worth, to say he is very, very sorry for what's happened and still finds it hard to accept but realises the reality of what has happened," she said.
His defence team argued that his sentence should be mitigated by the fact that he had pleaded guilty and thus avoided a trial. O'Neill also said that his use of drink and drugs meant he was not able to remember all of his actions, and that he had "no recollections" of the allegations of child abuse in the case.
Referencing his reaction to the video footage mentioned in court of him attempting to rape a baby, she said: "He was very shocked when he saw it and couldn't believe he had participated in such an activity."
The defence had argued that Watkins had been "vilified" to an "exceptional" extent, and that he was "bombarded" by fans "24 hours a day, seven days a week" who would send him messages about fantasies of "extreme depravity".
However, they also acknowledged that Watkins was "ashamed and appalled by what has happened" and added: "He has belatedly realised the gravity of what has happened. He has certainly expressed a wish to resolve the problems he has had as card as drink and drugs are concerned but also he has acknowledged that he has got himself into this current situation and he is ashamed and appalled by what has happened.
"He is deeply ashamed and sorry for what he has put others through, including his family and those who know him and still support him."
The defence team for Woman A said that she was a "vulnerable girl" who allowed herself to be "manipulated and corrupted" and taken to a "very dark place" by the singer. The court were told that she was "not an obsessive fan" who had targeted Watkins, and that she was "deeply remorseful" for her actions.
Speaking about the video footage which showed Watkins attempting to rape Woman A's son, her QC Jonathan Fuller said: "She was the mother of that child and, as we all saw, it probably wasn't so much the sexual activity that was extreme - what was extreme was there a child of this age with their mother.
"That's the appalling thing that she is now coping with and is genuinely remorseful for that, as a mother should be."
Woman B, meanwhile, was described as a major fan of Watkins, with police finding 1,200 photographs of him on her iPod after her arrest. Christine Laing QC said the defendant was a "very immature young woman" suffering from post-natal depression and an undiagnosed personality disorder when she first met Watkins.
Extracts from an online conversation which took place between her and Watkins in August last year were read out to the court. She told the singer "You are a big deal, you are Ian Watkins," to which he replied: "I am and you and your daughter now belong to me."
Watkins, the former singer of the now-defunct Welsh band, had originally "furiously denied" all allegations but later changed his plea to guilty at the start of his court appearance. He was subsequently described as a "determined and committed paedophile" by the judge, while two female co-defendants, who cannot be named, also admitted to numerous child sex offences.
Lostprophets announced that they would split in October. They formed in Pontypridd in 1997 and released debut album 'Thefakesoundofprogress' in 2000. The band's fifth and final album, 'Weapons', was released on April 2, 2012.
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