Ian Watkins (Lostprophets)
|Born||Ian David Karslake Watkins
30 July 1977
Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales
|29 years imprisonment plus 6 years on extended licence|
|Incarcerated at HM Prison Long Lartin as of 2014|
Ian David Karslake Watkins (born 30 July 1977) is a Welsh musician who achieved prominence as a founding member, lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Lostprophets. Lostprophets disbanded in 2013 after Watkins was charged with sexual offences in late 2012. In November 2013, Watkins pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13. He was subsequently sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment and six years on extended licence.
Watkins was born in Merthyr Tydfil and later moved to Pontypridd, where he attended Hawthorn High School with future bandmate Mike Lewis. He continued his education after high school, completing a degree in graphic design from the University of Wales, Newport, and graduating with First-class honours.
Lewis' and Watkins' mutual enjoyment of rock and metal music strengthened their friendship, leading them, as teenagers in 1991, to form a group called Aftermath, a thrash metal band that played in a shed in Watkins' garden. Whilst spending time in the local Ynysangharad Park, where (17 years later) Lostprophets would headline the Full Ponty festival, Watkins was introduced to future band mate, Lee Gaze, through a mutual friend. Having abandoned Aftermath, which made two live appearances in its lifespan of two years, Watkins and Gaze decided to form a new band called Fleshbind, based on their American hardcore punk influences. The band played several shows, including one supporting Feeder in London, but the group was short-lived.
Watkins reunited with Mike Lewis, as a drummer in hardcore band called Public Disturbance (formed in 1995). By this time, Watkins and Gaze had left Fleshbind to create their own band, Lost Prophets, who made their live debut in May 1997 alongside Public Disturbance, with Watkins as the lead vocalist. In 1998, Watkins left Public Disturbance to concentrate on the newly named lostprophets (all lower-case letters).
On New Year's Eve 2008, Watkins took part in a concert for Kidney Wales Foundation and stated that his reasons for being involved were as a result of his mother needing a kidney transplant: "Having that direct experience is why I wanted to get more involved with Kidney Wales and organise a fundraising concert on New Year's Eve." The concert featured Welsh bands the Blackout, Kids in Glass Houses, and Attack! Attack!.
In 2009, Watkins started a remixing side project called L'Amour La Morgue. He has released 17 remixes by artists such as the Killers, Beyoncé, Young Guns, Magic Wands, Tears for Fears, and Bring Me the Horizon. He has also released a free mixtape, which is available online, along with a free download of a song that was premiered at a fashion show in 2008.
Lostprophets recorded five albums: Thefakesoundofprogress, Start Something, Liberation Transmission, The Betrayed, and Weapons. They toured extensively in Europe and America, playing shows such as the Reading and Leeds Festivals in 2004, 2007, 2009, and 2010.
On 19 December 2012, Watkins was charged with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a one-year-old girl, and with possession of and/or distribution of indecent images of children and "extreme animal pornography", charges which were heard at Cardiff magistrates court. He was remanded in custody as were his two female co-accused. His barrister said Watkins would deny the accusations. On 31 December, he appeared at Cardiff Crown Court via video link from Parc Prison, Bridgend, and was remanded in custody until 11 March 2013. The case was adjourned until May, with the trial date set for 15 July. At a hearing on 3 June, he denied the charges via a video link.
On 6 June, it was announced that the trial would start on 25 November and was expected to last a month. A previous application for the court venue to be moved outside of Wales was denied. On 26 November, Watkins pleaded guilty to attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13, but not guilty to rape. This was accepted by the prosecution. He further pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal. Watkins' victims included a baby boy, and he sent an SMS text message to the mother of one, saying: "If you belong to me, so does your baby." South Wales Police's investigation into Watkins, codenamed "Operation Globe", required the cooperation of GCHQ to decrypt a hidden drive on his laptop, which was then found to contain video of his abuses. It was later revealed that on 27 November, the day after his guilty plea had been accepted by the prosecution, Watkins had referred to his sex offences as being "mega lolz" in a recorded phone call made from Parc Prison to a female fan.
A sentencing hearing was held at Cardiff on 18 December 2013. In mitigation, Watkins' barrister, Sally O'Neill QC, claimed that he had no recollection of the case involving the attempted rape, which he had admitted after seeing it on video. Watkins received a sentence of 29 years' imprisonment, with eligibility to apply for parole after serving two thirds of his prison term, followed by six years of supervised release. His two co-defendants, mothers of his victims, received sentences of 14 and 17 years' imprisonment respectively. The judge, Mr. Justice Royce, said the case "plunged into new depths of depravity". South Wales Police stated that they are investigating allegations of additional offences in Germany and America. A senior investigating officer on the case described Watkins as a "committed, organised paedophile" and "potentially the most dangerous sex offender" he had ever seen.
Watkins was transferred from HM Prison Parc, where he had been incarcerated while on remand, to HM Prison Wakefield to begin serving his sentence. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating allegations that three United Kingdom police forces failed to act on earlier allegations of abuse by Watkins, made between 2008 and 2012. Watkins was transferred to HM Prison Long Lartin on 25 January 2014, so that he could be closer to his mother after she had a kidney transplant.
- Thefakesoundofprogress (2000)
- Start Something (2004)
- Liberation Transmission (2006)
- The Betrayed (2010)
- Weapons (2012)
- Public Disturbance
- 4-Way Tie Up (1997)
- UKHC Compilation (1997)
- Victim of Circumstance (1998)
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- "Ian Watkins moved to same prison as child killer Ian Huntley". 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- The Honourable Mr Justice Royce Between: The Queen V Ian Watkins & B & P - Judiciary Court Documentation (Archive)
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