Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years over child sex offences

Ian Watkins Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins accepted he was a 'determined and committed paedophile'

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Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins has been sentenced to 35 years for a string of child sex offences including the attempted rape of a baby.

Watkins, 36, from Pontypridd, pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court last month to 13 child sex offences.

His two co-defendants, who are the mothers of children he abused, were jailed for 14 and 17 years.

Sentencing the three, Mr Justice Royce said the case broke "new ground" and "plunged into new depths of depravity".

Watkins was sentenced to 29 years in prison with a further six years on licence, but he will be eligible for parole after serving two thirds of the prison term.

He was sentenced alongside the two mothers known as Woman A and Woman B who also pleaded guilty to child abuse charges.

Woman A was jailed for 14 years and Woman B was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Watkins admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13 but pleaded not guilty to rape.

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins on stage in 2007

He also admitted conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.

During sentencing, Mr Justice Royce said: "Those who have appeared in these courts over many years, see here, a large number of horrific cases," he said.

Ian Watkins has been given what is called an extended sentence. It is used for public protection in the case of offenders who are deemed particularly dangerous.

His total sentence is 35 years, 29 of which will be served in prison plus a six year period served in the community on licence. If he were to breach the terms of that licence, he could be immediately returned to prison.

He will have to serve two thirds of the 29 year custodial part of his sentence before he can be considered for release by the Parole Board - it does not mean he will be released at that point. At the time of release from prison, the six year extension on licence kicks in.

The legislation says the extension period is "of such length as the court considers necessary for the purpose of protecting members of the public from serious harm".

"This case breaks new ground. Any decent person... will experience shock, revulsion and incredulity."

He added it was a "classic case that the evidence was so overwhelming" there should not be credit given.

The judge said Watkins had a "corrupting influence", and had shown a "complete lack of remorse". He also said Watkins posed a significant risk to the public in particular to women with young children.

He told Woman A: "What you were both doing is both sickening and incomprehensible" and said to Woman B that she did not regard her child as a human being.

Earlier on Wednesday, defending barrister Sally O'Neill QC said how Watkins "belatedly realised the gravity of what happened" and was "deeply, deeply sorry".

She told the court how he had developed an "obsession" with filming himself having sex and had become addicted to drugs at the age of 30.

South Wales Police Det Ch Insp Peter Doyle said his officers were working with police in Germany and the US

She said Watkins had no memory of the crime involving Woman A and her son, where he admitted to the attempted rape of a baby.

"Because he had no memory he could not believe he had done that," she said, adding he had now "confronted reality" over what he had done.

Watkins was on 15-minute suicide watch while on remand, the court heard.

Jonathan Fuller QC, defending for Woman A, said she felt genuine remorse and was devastated by what she had done.

Christine Laing QC, defending Woman B, said she was clearly remorseful for her behaviour and the loss of her child was her punishment.

Meanwhile, South Wales Police are investigating whether Watkins also committed offences in Germany and America and the IPCC has confirmed it was investigating three police forces over the case.

Joanne Mjedzelics says she repeatedly reported Watkins to police

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, senior investigating officer, said the sentences reflected the gravity of the crimes and the investigation uncovered "the most disturbing child abuse evidence" he had seen in his 28 years as an 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 they deserve.

IPCC INVESTIGATION

Police watchdog the IPCC is investigating three forces over their handling of allegations made about Ian Watkins between 2008-2012.

South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire and South Wales are being investigated over information received about Watkins prior to his arrest in December 2012.

Three other forces, Essex, West Yorkshire and the Metropolitan Police, also supplied information that they had been given about Watkins for the inquiry but are not currently under investigation.

An officer from South Wales is the focus of the IPCC probe there.

Three reports were made to South Yorkshire between March and May 2012 relating to Watkins.

A member of the public reported an allegation of child abuse against Watkins in October 2012 to Bedfordshire Police.

"In the last few weeks we have received further information that will now be looked at by the investigation team."

Earlier he said the investigation was large scale because the amount of data involved - 27 terabytes - was "four or five times" the size of the databases held by South Wales Police.

And he said how he was sure there were other child victims.

Suzanne Thomas, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS Wales, said Watkins was the ringleader and the defendants conspired to commit "appalling crimes of abuse against young and defenceless victims".

She added: "He is a highly dangerous and manipulative individual who preyed on his victims in a calculated manner.

"The other two defendants were active participants in the most shocking abuse of their own children. They too have received sentences that reflect their admissions of guilt for these offences.

"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."

The IPCC's Jan Williams says there will be a 'thorough, robust investigation' into how police responded to complaints against Watkins

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