Lostprophets' Ian Watkins jail term appeal refused

The former singer with the Lostprophets was sentenced to 29 years in prison and a further six on licence

Judges have thrown out an appeal by paedophile rock star Ian Watkins to reduce the length of his jail term for child sex offences.

The Lostprophets singer from Pontypridd was jailed for 29 years in December, with another six years on licence.

Appeal judges said his offences were "of such shocking depravity that they demanded a lengthy prison sentence".

A woman jailed alongside Watkins - the mother of a girl he abused - also saw a cut in her 17-year sentence refused.

A second woman, whose child was also abused by the singer, was jailed for 14 years and did not appeal.

Watkins, 37, denied all the charges against him when he was arrested in December 2012 but later admitted a string of offences when the case came to court 12 months later.

He was not in court for the appeal proceedings and Sally O'Neill QC, representing him, argued his sentence was too high.

She said that while his offences were very serious, they were "not the worst that can happen".

'Depravity'

She also claimed Watkins should have had a greater sentence discount for his guilty plea, which avoided the need for disturbing evidence to be shown in court.

Simon Smith, defending the woman, argued an appeal was necessary on the grounds of the woman's immaturity when the offences took place.

He said she lived her life through fantasy and was compliant with Ian Watkins because of his fame.

But Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting at Cardiff Crown Court with two other appeal court judges, rejected that argument.

The appeal by Ian Watkins' lawyer was rejected by Lord Justice Pitchford

He said the woman had "willing corruptibility" and "offered her child as a sacrifice for Watkins continued interest in her".

Commenting on Watkins' case, the lord justice said: "These were offences against infant children of such shocking depravity that a very lengthy sentence of imprisonment was demanded, not withstanding the absence of physical injury.

"It is not demonstrated that the total sentence of 29 years together with the extended licence period was arguably manifestly excessive. Accordingly, the application in his case is refused."

During the police investigation detectives found a huge cache of child abuse photos and films stored on the rock star's computers and online.

It was almost five times the storage size of the South Wales Police force's entire computer database.

Des Mannion from NSPCC Wales said afterwards: "It's right that the tough sentences originally given to Watkins and his co-defendant have been upheld today.

"They reflect the severe damage caused by the two women and Ian Watkins - a highly manipulative and devious sex offender."

He added: "If Watkins had an ounce of dignity he'd put his efforts into helping the police identify any other potential victims, not trying to reduce his sentence."

'Corrupting influence'

Code-cracking experts from GCHQ were called in as part of Operation Globe to break the encryption set up by the singer to cover his traces.

Sentencing Watkins and the two women at Cardiff Crown Court in December 2013, Mr Justice Royce said the case broke "new ground" and "plunged into new depths of depravity".

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

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.

The two women also admitted child abuse charges.

Meanwhile an inquiry into whether the singer's celebrity status prevented him from being brought to justice sooner is being held by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Gross misconduct notices have been served on seven police officers as part of the investigations into the handling of allegations against Watkins.

They include three from South Yorkshire Police, two from Bedfordshire Police, and two from South Wales Police.

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