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Thursday 18 September 2014

Police probed as rock-star paedophile given 35 years

Martin Evans

Published 19/12/2013 | 02:30

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An investigation has been launched by the police watchdog following concern that three forces failed to respond quickly enough to allegations made against paedophile rock singer Ian Watkins.

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Last night the 36-year-old was beginning a 35-year prison sentence after a judge said his "horrific" offences "plumbed new depths of depravity".

Watkins, who fronted the Welsh band Lostprophets, shook in the dock at Cardiff Crown Court as he was sentenced for 13 offences, including the attempted rape of an 11-month-old baby boy and the abuse of a baby girl.

Described by the judge as a "committed and determined paedophile", Watkins used his fame and power over "fawning" and obsessed female fans to persuade them to cooperate in the abuse of their own children.

He told one of the women: "You and your daughter belong to me now."

Watkins had videoed the abuse and stored it on a secret hard drive on his computer that was only discovered when code breakers were brought in from GCHQ.

But despite his conviction, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would look into concerns that the police forces in South Wales, South Yorkshire and Bedfordshire had not responded appropriately to previous allegations made against the singer.

The IPCC said it was aware of reports made to the police up to three years before Watkins' arrest in 2012 and would be seeking to establish if his celebrity status had any impact on the investigation.

Police last night also said they feared the abuse could be the "tip of the iceberg" as they revealed they were working with detectives in the US and Germany to see if he carried out similar crimes while touring with the band there.

Watkins pleaded guilty to 13 child-sex offences last month, but yesterday it emerged that the day after admitting the offences, he made a phone call to a female fan in which he described the abuse as "MegaLolz", a phrase popular with his group's followers, meaning a big laugh.

Watkins was also recorded telling the fan: "I don't know what everyone is getting so freaked out about."

Mr Justice Royce told Watkins that while he had seen many horrific cases come before the courts, his offences "broke new ground".

He said: "You, Watkins, achieved fame and success as the lead singer of Lostprophets. You had many fawning fans. That gave you power.

"You knew you could use that power to induce young female fans to help satisfy your insatiable lust and take part in the sexual abuse of their own children.

"Away from the highlights of your public performances lay a dark and sinister side. I am satisfied that you are a deeply corrupting influence, you are highly manipulative, you are a sexual predator, you are dangerous."

The mothers of the two abused babies, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were jailed for a total of 31 years.

Addressing all three of them, Judge Royce said: "Any decent person looking at and listening to the material here will experience shock, revulsion, anger and incredulity.

"What you three did plumbs new depths of depravity."

DELIGHT

In receiving a 35-year sentence, Watkins joins a list of some of the most serious and longest serving criminals in Britain's jails.

But Judge Royce said the case had many aggravating factors including the "delight" he clearly got in engaging in the most terrible offences involving tiny children and his lack of remorse, demonstrated by the phone call he made to a fan after his guilty pleas.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle said the case was the most disturbing one he had seen in 28-years as a police officer.

But he added: "Today's sentence does not mark the end of our investigations and we will work tirelessly to identify any other victims or witnesses and seek the justice they deserve.

"In the last few weeks we have received further information that will now be looked at by the investigation team."

© Daily Telegraph London

Irish Independent

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