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Ian Watkins jailed for 35 years for horrific sexual abuse of young children|
Rock singer Ian Watkins has been jailed for 35 years for his sexual abuse of young children, as it was revealed in court he described his crimes as ‘mega lolz’.
The Lostprophets frontman was said to be visibly shaking in Cardiff crown court as the sentence was announced. It is understood that Watkins will likely serve 29 years behind bars before spending six years on licence.
Watkins, 36, admitted 13 sex offences, including the attempted rape of an 11-month-old baby.
Two women aged 21 and 24, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were jailed for 14 and 17 years respectively after admitting their role in the sex offences against their own children.
Trial judge Mr Justice Royce told him and his co-defendants that what they had done ‘plumbed new depths of depravity’.
After sexually touching a groupie’s 11-month-old baby, Watkins then tried to have penetrative sex with the child. He also encouraged a second fan to abuse her child during a webcam chat and secretly stashed child porn videos, some of which he had made himself.
And it is feared the incidents could be just the tip of the iceberg. Police are investigating whether Watkins committed further abuse in the US and Germany.
Today in court, prosecutor Christopher Clee QC told the judge about two phone calls the singer made to a female friend.
The day after Watkins admitted he was a paedophile, he said of the court hearing on November 26: ‘It was like either me go up there and say “Come on, it wasn’t that bad, nobody got hurt”. I do my charm or do I end up making things worse for myself or do I just say I was off my head and can’t remember?’
He said about his sentence: ‘I’m going to put a statement on the 18th now just to say it was mega lolz, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about.’
The next day he said in another conversation: ‘It’s so hard. There’s a lot of ****ing meaningless bull**** like chat that I did to show off when I was ****ing off my head.
‘There was no medical evidence, nobody was harmed at all.’
The phrase ‘mega lolz’ was used by the Lostprophets on some of their t-shirts when the band were together.
The court was told Watkins has been convicted over a total of 90 images of children. He also had 22 graphic images of bestiality.
The disgraced rock star has admitted using his celebrity status to abuse children belonging to two fans.
He appeared in a 17-minute video abusing one child in the presence of the baby’s mother.
He also indulged in a 45-minute virtual sex session, using Skype to persuade another baby’s mother to abuse her child.
However, Watkins’ defence tried to argue he was ‘set-up’ by fans who made depraved sexual offers via social media.
Sally O’Neill QC, for Watkins, said he was ‘bombarded’ with messages ’24 hours a day, seven days a week’, from Lostprophets fans who used extreme tactics to retain Watkins’ interest, with some describing sexual fantasies of ‘extraordinary depravity’.
Watkins’ drug addiction played a ‘considerable part’ in his offending, Ms O’Neill also told the court.
He was unable to control his behaviour and suffered memory black outs, the court heard.
She added he was ‘shocked’ and felt ‘sick’ when he saw a video of himself trying to rape a baby and ‘couldn’t believe’ he had participated in such activity.
However, the judge said it was ‘wholly unrealistic’ that Watkins didn’t know what he had done due to ‘horrific sexual abuse’ depicted in the videos.
A pre-sentence report showed Watkins – who has been on 15-minute suicide watch since entering prison – was ‘preoccupied’ with sex but does not have a ‘child sexual preference’, the court heard.
Police issued a renewed appeal on Twitter on Wednesday reminding people that Watkins’ two co-defendants must not be identified on social media.
South Wales Police tweeted: ‘As Ian Watkins is sentenced today, pls can we remind you that to protect the victims of his crimes his co-defendants must not be identified.’