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Lostprophets members could have been 'groomed' by Ian Watkins, says child abuse expert

NSPCC says that the band could have been convinced into believing the former frontman was innocent

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The former members of Lostprophets could have been "groomed" by Ian Watkins into believing that he was not a paedophile, a child abuse expert has said.

Watkins' former bandmates (pictured above) have faced persistent comments about whether they knew about the crimes committed by former frontman Ian Watkins before his 2012 arrest.

However, Jon Brown, lead for tackling sexual abuse at charity NSPCC said that many of those close to abusers have no idea. "Abusers don’t only groom their victims but those around them, convincing them that any accusations are groundless," he said.

Watkins last year pleaded guilty to 13 charges including the attempted rape and sexual assault of a baby, and was sentenced to 29 years in prison. His former bandmates announced their split in October 2013.

Earlier this week, Watkins' former bandmates said they had no idea about the crimes. "How could you know? How would you know?" guitarist Lee Gaze said. "Who would disclose such a thing to five people, who between them have eight children? You just wouldn't because they would be killed on the spot."

The band also said that relations in the rock band were so strained before Ian Watkins' arrest that they would have split up regardless.

Gaze says the final time he saw Watkins, days before his arrest, was at a video shoot for what was to be the band's next single. Watkins was "strangely positive and enthusiastic about everything," counter to the mood of the band. "[He was] talking about the next record and how it's going to do really well and get back on our feet. It goes to show how deluded he was. He is just completely on a different level to everybody, happy and positive and convinced we are going to be successful again."

The former members of Lostprophets, who now perform as No Devotion with Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly (pictured above right), recently released their debut single 'Stay', and are set to release their debut album in early 2015. At their first gig earlier this month, they thanked fans for "sticking with us".

NME BLOG: Lostprophets' legacy is poisoned forever, how its former members are trying to move on

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