By Melissa Fernie
The lead singer of Welsh rock band, Lostprophets, has pleaded guilty to two accounts of child sexual assault and possession of hardcore child porn in Cardiff Crown Court yesterday.
Having previously claimed he was the victim of a malicious campaign, 36-year-old Ian Watkins from Pontypridd pleaded guilty to attempted rape and sexual assault of two small children, including an 11-month-old baby and being in possession of depraved online porn. Watkins also admitted to three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making and possessing indecent images of children and one extreme pornographic image involving an animal. Prosecutor barrister, Chris Clee, said: “Watkins accepts he was a determined and committed paedophile.”
The court heard that Watkins filmed and kept the abuse which was recovered by police after a raid on his home. The majority of the evidence uncovered was too extreme and distressing to report.
His distraught family described how his online porn obsession turned a ‘happy normal lad from the Valleys’ into a paedophile who will be remembered like Jimmy Saville. However, former fans believe Watkin’s abuse to be far worse than Saville’s.
The mothers of two of the abused children were also arrested for helping to solicit the assaults and for sexually abusing their own children. Barrister Clee said: “Both women sexually abused their own children and made them available to Watkins for him to abuse.” Watkins also planned to give the babies drugs, the hearing was told. Clee stated that drugs were clearly a big part in these offences and police found meth, cocaine and GHB during their searches.
Watkins’ depraved behaviour dates back to 2006 when he met with a 16-year-old girl who was dressed in her school uniform in a New York hotel and filmed their encounter. Police have described how Watkins used his fame to abuse young children and speaking outside the court, Deputy Chief Inspector, Peter Doyle from South Wales Police, said: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children.” He added that Watkins’ guilty plea did not mean the end of the investigation and the police force would work tirelessly to identify other victims.
However, female fans argue they had been warning the police that Watkins was obsessed with child porn, but the police took no action. From 2010, fans who had become friends with the singer went online to plead for help after discovering vile images on is computer and claimed they called the police to tell them he was a paedophile, but officers did nothing and allowed him to go on with the abuse. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case.
Lostprophets were an alternative rock band that formed in 1997 and achieved heightened success selling 3.5 million albums around the world. Former music journalist, Gavin Allen, said: “They achieved real success, but their career will now be so tainted that it is hard to see any radio stations playing their music again. Their legacy has just vanished.”