Convicted pedophile and former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, who last month pleaded guilty to a string of horrific child sex crimes, was sentenced today to 29 years in jail, with his two co-defendants receiving sentences of 14 and 17 years respectively, at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales.
In addition to Watkins’ 29-year sentence, he was also served an extended licence of six years, making his sentence a total of 35 years, likely to be served at Bridgend’s Parc Prison. Watkins will have to serve two thirds of the sentence before he can be considered for release.
The charges to which Watkins pleaded guilty included the attempted rape of a baby, with one prosecutor describing him as a “determined and committed pedophile.” Watkins initially insisted that he was innocent and would fight to clear his name before pleading guilty to 13 offences.
Before handing down the sentence, the judge, Mr Justice Royce, told Watkins and the two mothers in the case, “What you three did plumbs new depths of depravity,” adding, “Any decent person looking at or listening to material here would experience shock, revulsion, anger and incredulity.”
As Wales Online reports, during the sentencing the court was told about phone calls Watkins made from Bridgend’s Parc Prison days after his guilty plea, in which he said he would release a statement saying his conduct “was mega lols, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about.”
In another conversation the following day, Watkins said, “I’m not a paedophile, I’m not. You know I plead (sic) guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising ‘Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty’ but I would never harm anybody,” insisting “There was no medical evidence, nobody was harmed at all.”
When Watkins was asked if he would still issue a statement describing his actions as “mega lols,” he replied, “No, it’s just lols now.” His defence team said that Watkins was not the first rock star to be carried away by the effects of constant fan adulation and to subsequently take advantage of it.
Sally O’Neill QC, defending Watkins, claimed that Watkins had “no recollection” of the child abuse incidents described in the case and that, as a celebrity, he was constantly “bombarded” with messages of “extraordinary depravity” from fans using “extraordinary tactics” to retain his interest.
O’Neill implied that Watkins was “set up” by sexually aggressive fans, with his drug use ensuring he had no memory of his actions. Of the video of Watkins attempting to rape a baby, she said, “He was very shocked when he saw it and couldn’t believe he had participated in such activity.”
South Wales Police are currently investigating whether Watkins also committed offences in Germany and America, with Det Ch Insp Peter Doyle of South Wales Police leading the investigation. Meanwhile a police watchdog group is investigating three police forces over the case.
According to the BBC, Insp Doyle says he “is sure” of the existence of other child victims and that the amount of data involved in this large scale investigation — 27 terabytes — was “four or five times” the size of the databases held by South Wales Police. Insp Doyle added:
“The inquiries currently being conducted in Germany and the United States lead me to believe that there are further victims in those countries. At this juncture my belief is that they are child victims.”
The investigating team is working with the National Crime Agency, Interpol, and US Homeland Security, while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has confirmed that South Wales Police received information about Watkins from five other forces prior to his arrest.
South Wales, South Yorkshire, and Bedfordshire Police are the three forces currently being investigated by the IPCC, with the watchdog confirming that Metropolitan, Essex, and other police forces provided South Wales with information regarding Ian Watkins some time before his arrest.
The watchdog group are using this information as part of their investigation, as well as reports that a former girlfriend of Watkins repeatedly warned police over a several-year period about the singer. South Wales police referred themselves to the IPCC only after Watkins was charged.
“At this stage, a significant part of the investigation is focused on the actions of one officer, a detective sergeant, who is also being investigated in a separate case where it is alleged he failed to act on an allegation that a 15-year-old girl had been raped,” said the IPCC.
(Via Wales Online)