Ian Watkins (Lostprophets)
Watkins performing with Lostprophets in 2007
30 July 1977 |
Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, Wales
|Criminal penalty||29 years imprisonment plus 6 years on extended licence|
|Genres||Alternative rock, alternative metal, post-hardcore, nu metal|
|Labels||Epic, Fearless, Visible Noise|
|Associated acts||Lostprophets, Public Disturbance, The Blackout|
Ian David Karslake Watkins (born 30 July 1977) is a Welsh musician and convicted sex offender. Watkins 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, he pleaded guilty to 13 charges, including the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13; these offences were committed against the infant children of two fans who were also convicted. He was subsequently sentenced to 29 years' imprisonment and six years on extended licence.
Watkins was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire, and later moved to Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf, where he attended Hawthorn High School with future bandmate Mike Lewis. He completed a degree in graphic design from the University of Wales, Newport, 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 a 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!
Watkins was also featured in The Blackout's song 'It's High Tide Baby', and also accompanied them on tour.
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 1-year-old girl, and with possession 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 known as "Woman A" and "Woman B", 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.
In July 2014, Watkins' former girlfriend appeared at Cardiff Crown Court charged with six counts of possessing and distributing indecent images of children and one count of encouraging Watkins to distribute an indecent image. Her trial began on 5 January 2015, and she pled not guilty on the grounds that she was in possession of said materials to build evidence to later help incriminate Watkins. She was cleared of all charges on 14 January.
- 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)
- "Ian Watkins". BBC News, Wales. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
- "Search general register office (GRO)birth records 1761-2006 | Fully indexed birth records". Findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins guilty of child sex offences". BBC News, Wales. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years over child sex offences". BBC News, Wales. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Bezer, Terry. "Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins Talks About Reading, A New Album And ‘That Photo’". Metal Hammer. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
- Brindley, Madeleine (29 October 2008). "Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins to stage show for Kidney Wales Foundation". WalesOnline.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
- "Lamourlamorgue.com".[dead link]
- "Lostprophets forge ahead with fall tour". Ultimate guitar. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
- "Lostprophets find their way to US audiences". Live Daily. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
- "Artist/ Line up: Lostprophets". BBC News. Retrieved 29 August 2007.
- "Lostprophets rock star Ian Watkins child sex offence charges". BBC News, Wales. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- "Lostprophets singer charged over child sex offences". ITV. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- Hall, John (19 December 2012). "Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins remanded in custody after appearing in court accused of conspiring to rape one-year-old girl". The Independent (London). Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Lostprophets rock star Ian Watkins in court on sex charges". BBC News, Wales. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins child sex case adjourned". BBC News, Wales. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Lostprophets rock star Ian Watkins denies baby rape charges". BBC News, Wales. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- "Trial of Lostprophets' Ian Watkins to Start in November". BBC News, Wales. 6 June 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Steven Morris and agency. "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins admits sex offences including attempted rape of baby". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years over child sex offences". BBC Online. 2013-12-18. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Convicted paedophile Ian Watkins told fan: 'It was mega lolz'", The Guardian, 18 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013
- Jones, Ciaran (18 December 2013). "Live updates: Ian Watkins to be sentenced over child sex offences". Wales Online. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Ian Watkins could be 'most dangerous sex offender I have ever seen' - officer", The Guardian, 18 December 2013
- "Ian Watkins, Lostprophets Paedophile Rock Singer, Begins Jail Term At HMP Wakefield". Huffington Post. 19 December 2013. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- "Ian Watkins moved to same prison as child killer Ian Huntley". 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "Ian Watkins ex pleads not guilty over indecent images". ITV. 11 June 2014.
- "Ian Watkins child abuse: Ex-girlfriend cleared over indecent images". Daily Telegraph. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- The Honourable Mr Justice Royce Between: The Queen V Ian Watkins & B & P - Judiciary Court Documentation (Archive)
|Wikinews has related news: Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins sentenced to 29 years in prison for attempting to rape baby|