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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins loses appeal against 29 year jail sentence

Published 23/07/2014 | 12:59

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File photo dated 26/08/07 of paedophile former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins as calls are growing for song lyrics which are inscribed on paving slabs in his home town of Pontypridd, South Wales, to be "ripped up" and trashed following his guilty plea to a host of offences including two counts of attempted rape of a baby. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday December 10, 2013. See PA story COURTS Watkins. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Paedophile former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins

FORMER Lostprophets singer and convicted paedophile Ian Watkins has had an appeal against his 29 year jail sentence rejected by the Court of Appeal sitting at Cardiff Crown Court.

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The former rock singer was handed a 35 year sentence at Cardiff Crown Court last year after admitting 13 sex offences.

Among them included the attempted rape of a baby.

After a judge branded the disgraced star a dangerous sexual predator, Watkins was handed a 29 year prison term followed by an additional six years on licence.

However, the now grey-haired vocalist - who said his child sex offences were "megalolz" - has complained his sentence was too harsh.

Originally Watkins had pleaded his innocence to a string of offences - despite a damning video of him engaging in sexual activity with an 11-month old baby.

However, he changed his plea at the last minute - averting a trial - but then complained he had not realised that a guilty plea had made him "look guilty".

A court heard that after sexually touching a groupie's baby, Watkins 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.

Although 37-year-old Watkins did not challenge his 13 sex offence convictions, the disgraced rock star complained he was treated too harshly by sentencing judge Mr Justice Royce.

Watkins was handed a 29 year jail term as well as an additional six years on licence.

Among the offences he pleaded guilty to included the attempted rape of an 11-month old child as well as encouraging a fan to abuse her baby via webcam.

Police also found a stash of child porn videos - some of which he had made himself.

Originally, Watkins had pleaded his innocence to a string of offences - despite a damning video evidence.

He changed his plea at the last minute - averting a trial - but then complained he had not realised that his guilty plea had made him "look guilty".

While awaiting sentencing, he was recorded by prison officials saying the whole thing was "megalolz" during a telephone call to a friend.

Mr Justice Royce called Watkins a dangerous sexual predator.

As he sentenced the singer last December, the judge told a now grey haired Watkins: "The public and, in particular, young females need protection from you."

Defending Watkins at today's hearing was QC Sally O'Neil.

She said her client was not given enough discount for pleading guilty.

She said: "This case causes a very disturbing reaction for anyone who has has anything to do with it. We accept these matters are very serious.

"But by pleading guilty my client averted the need for a most distressing and unpleasant trial for all those concerned, especially a jury.

"He did not have to plead guilty and if he had done so the consequences would have been shocking.

" I am not trying to minimise the gravity of these offences, just simply make the observation that a sense of proportion needs to be maintained.

"These offences, however bad, are not the worst."

But Lord Justice Pitchford said the sentences handed to Watkins and his female accomplice were appropriate.

Although a full judgment will be handed down in writing next week, Lord Pitchford said: "These offences against children were of shocking depravity...a very lengthy prison sentence was demanded."

The Court of Appeal also said Watkins did not demonstrate that his 29 year prison sentence was "not unduly manifestly excessive" and the sentencing judge had "reached the appropriate conclusion".

Watkins was not present at the hearing and also chose not to appear from HMP Long Lartin via video link.

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