Wednesday 20 September 2017

Plea for social media restraint in Ian Watkins case

Ian Watkins has admitted a string of sex offences
Ian Watkins has admitted a string of sex offences

Online chat about the Ian Watkins paedophile case runs a very real risk of revealing the identity of his sex abuse victims, police are warning.

Former Lostprophets frontman Watkins, 36, is facing a long jail term when he returns to Cardiff Crown Court, south Wales, for sentencing next month.

Details of his secret life of child sex abuse and female fan manipulation have hit the headlines after he admitted a string of offences in court yesterday.

Two women, the mothers of babies targeted by Watkins, have not been named to protect the identities of their children. Both women are also facing jail.

Other defenceless young victims of Watkins's sexual abuse are also protected by automatic anonymity.

The horrific details of his case, and the admission of two baby rape attempts, has triggered a flurry of on line chatter on Facebook and Twitter.

The content of some of the remarks has led to the police issuing a general warning to people to be careful.

"South Wales Police are urging people using Twitter and Facebook to discuss the Ian Watkins child abuse case to be careful about using information that may identify the victims involved in the case," a spokesman said.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, added: "Clearly there is strong public feeling about this case and many people are using social media outlets to talk about the issues involved.

"However, there is a very real danger that some of the detail being posted will lead to the identification of victims which will cause a great deal of distress to them and their families."

Anyone who has been affected by this case can contact South Wales Police on 02920 634184 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

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