Saturday 21 April 2018

I would like to apologise to Mr Louis Walsh for all the stuff I put him through . . .

Tom Tuite

AN UNEMPLOYED dance teacher apologised in court yesterday after he admitted making false allegations that he was sexually assaulted by 'X-Factor' judge Louis Walsh.

Father-of-two Leonard Watters (24), who is from Navan in Co Meath, will be sentenced in January for making unfounded claims that the pop guru sexually assaulted him in the toilets of Dublin's Krystle nightclub in April.

Watters went into the witness box in the city's District Court to say sorry to Mr Walsh.

"I would like to sincerely apologise to Mr Louis Walsh for all the stuff I put him through. The allegation was false," he said.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of making false reports to gardai at Harcourt Terrace garda station on June 20 and at his home on June 28.

Last night a spokeswoman for Mr Walsh said he would not comment as legal proceedings were continuing.

Judge Dermot Dempsey ordered a probation and welfare report on the defendant and adjourned sentencing to January 5.

"I'm considering a custodial sentence, given the gravity of it," warned the judge. "It's a very serious matter."

Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told the court that on April 9, Watters had been socialising in Dublin and met Mr Walsh and friends in a bar in the city centre.

"He travelled with them to Krystle nightclub on Harcourt Street," Det Insp Cryan said.

At about 4.30am, Watters approached a garda on Harcourt Street and "alleged that he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Walsh".

The defendant was taken to Mountjoy garda station, where he made the same allegation, before being examined at a sexual-assault unit. This revealed bruising in his genital area.

More than two months later, on June 20, Watters showed investigators the toilet in the nightclub where he alleged the offence had taken place and made his first formal statement.

Within days, Mr Walsh was interviewed under caution. He denied the allegation.

Watters made a second false statement on June 27 and was shown CCTV from the nightclub.

"It became obvious the CCTV did not support his allegations," added Det Insp Cryan.

When Watters was arrested at his home on June 28 he admitted that Mr Walsh had not sexually assaulted him.

He then claimed to have been assaulted in the toilets at Krystle nightclub but admitted: "Louis Walsh did not do that."

In mitigation, defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins said his client was now seen as a pariah in his home town and a 'Walter Mitty type' character.

He maintained that Watters was a fragile and vulnerable person who was psychologically shaky and had recently self-harmed.

His respected parents have been left traumatised by being in the public domain, said Mr O'Higgins.

In pleas for leniency, the defence asked the court to note that Watters wanted to apologise to Mr Walsh.

He had "consumed a lot of alcohol" when he first approached the gardai with his claims, the court heard.

The former ballroom dance teacher, who is on disability benefit of €188, has now been left unemployable, the solicitor added.


Judge Dempsey heard that Watters had two sets of criminal convictions for breaching a barring order and for driving without a licence or insurance.

He was held in the courthouse cells over the lunchtime recess. The case resumed at 2.15pm when Judge Dempsey described Watters' offences as "very serious".

Watters was released pending his sentence hearing. His bail terms state he must stay away from the Krystle nightclub and have no contact of any form with Mr Walsh or members of Westlife.

Irish Independent

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