Lostprophets singer jailed for 35 years for child sex abuse
LONDON—British rocker Ian Watkins of the band Lostprophets was jailed for 35 years Wednesday for a string of child sex crimes including the attempted rape of a baby, as police said investigations were also underway in the United States and Germany.
Watkins, 36, who admitted 13 offences at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales last month, had “plumbed new depths of depravity,” his judge said.
The singer, whose band sold millions of albums around the world, plotted the abuse of two children with their own mothers in a series of text and Internet messages.
After sexually touching one groupie’s 11-month-old baby son, the heavily-tattooed rocker then tried to have penetrative sex with the child.
He also encouraged a second fan to abuse her female child during a webcam chat and secretly stashed child porn videos, some of which he had made himself.
Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency was called in to crack his laptop password, which referenced his perversion.
Judge Roger Royce told Watkins: “Those who have appeared in these courts over many years see a large number of horrific cases. This case, however, breaks new ground.”
His two accomplices, known only as Woman A and Woman B to protect the identity of their children, were jailed for 14 years and 17 years respectively.
A ‘dark and sinister side’
The singer used his fame and power over “fawning” young female fans to “help satisfy your insatiable lust and take part in the sexual abuse of their own children,” Royce said.
Behind his public performances lay “a dark and sinister side,” said Royce.
“You are a deeply corrupting influence, you are highly manipulative, you are a sexual predator, you are dangerous.
“The public and, in particular, young females need protection from you.
“You spoke of not knowing to what extremes you would have gone but for your arrest. It is difficult to imagine anything much worse.”
The court on Wednesday heard a transcript of a telephone call that Watkins made to a female fan from prison the day after he admitted the crimes, saying he was going to issue a statement after he was sentenced saying it had all been “mega lolz”.
Watkins will be released on parole in around 20 years’ time and spend the rest of his sentence on licence, meaning he must adhere to certain conditions or face recall to prison.
Investigations in several countries
Police suspect the offences Watkins admitted may be only the tip of the iceberg.
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, who put together the case against Watkins, said the trial involved the “most disturbing child abuse evidence I have seen in my 28 years as a police officer”.
“Today’s sentence does not mark the end of our investigations and we will work tirelessly to identify any other victims or witnesses and seek the justice that they deserve,” he said.
Police had received fresh information in recent weeks, he said.
“There are also investigations being conducted by other police forces around the world, including Germany and the United States,” Doyle added.
Prosecutors said Watkins was “highly dangerous”.
“Ian Watkins was the ringleader of this terrible conspiracy and it is right that his sentence reflects this,” a Crown Prosecution Service spokeswoman said in a statement after sentencing.
“He is a highly dangerous and manipulative individual who preyed on his victims in a calculated manner.
“It is incomprehensible that adults would commit such appalling acts against children and young people, and our thoughts remain with the victims and those close to them.”
Lostprophets, who formed in 1997 and had a string of gold albums in the United States and platinum albums in Britain, disbanded earlier this year after Watkins was charged.
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