Ian Watkins sentenced – 35 year extended sentence (29 yrs + 6...

Ian Watkins sentenced – 35 year extended sentence (29 yrs + 6 yr licence)

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Ian-Watkins3

Introduction

We covered the case of Ian Watkins (and two women, named as A and B) who pleaded guilty on 26th November 2013 to various child sex offences. His case was adjourned for sentence. We had said that (on the information that was in the news reports) that the likely sentence was in the region of 20-25 years, and that he was in line for a sentence of life imprisonment.

Offences

Mr Watkins pleaded guilty to 13 offences. Unfortunately the press have not definitively what the charges are, but we believe them to be :

  • 2 attempted rapes of a baby
  • 4 sexual assault (by touching) of a one year old
  • 6 child pornography offences
  • 1 Possessing extreme pornography a  involving a sex act with an animal  

Woman A pleaded guilty to:

  • 1 attempted rape of a baby
  • 2 sexual assaults
  • 1 making an indecent image of a child

Woman B pleaded guilty to:

  • 1 conspiracy to rape a child
  • 3 sexual assaults
  • 4 making indecent images of a child

In each case of the women, the children referred to were their own children.

It was reported that Watkins held 27TB of data. To put that in context, 1TB is 1000 GB. 1 TB can store 17,000 hours of music, 320,000 high resolution photos, 1000 hours of digital video or 250 dvd movies. In short, 27TB is absolutely enormous.

Telephone calls whilst in prison – LOLz

Some more details came out of the sentencing hearing (Wales online seems to have the best coverage if you want more details), including telephone calls Mr Watkins made from prison which appeared to downplay the seriousness of it.

He is reported having said “I’m going to put a statement on the 18th now just to say it was megalolz, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about.” And in another conversation –“I’m not a paedophile, I’m not. You know I plead (sic) guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising ‘Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty’ but I would never harm anybody.”

Mitigation

Ian Watkins:

a)      His late plea of guilty, therefore avoiding a trial.

b)      A suggestion that obsessive fans had somehow ‘set him up’, after bombarding him with sexual attention (including, allegedly, messages of extraordinary depravity).

c)       His drug addiction resulting in him being out of control.

d)      Watkins could not remember the events depicted in the videos. He could not believe that he had done the acts in the videos when he saw them.

e)      The fact that the victims will have no memory of the events because of their ages.

f)       In relation to the attempt, no force was used on the child, it was an attempt (not the full offence) and the touching was minimal.

g)      It was claimed that Watkins had been vilified and much of the comment was sensationalist.

h)      That Watkins did not groom woman A and woman B into producing their children for abuse; it was a joint enterprise.

i)        A psychiatric assessment indicated that Watkins was preoccupied with sex generally, not specifically sex with children. It was claimed it was co-incidental that children were involved in the offending. He has no sexual preference in children.

j)        A PSR indicated he had a medium risk of reoffending.

k)      Other mitigation: how much the proceedings had affected him and his good character.

Woman A:

a)      She claimed that she had been manipulated by Watkins to “facilitate his sexual desire”

b)      She was deeply remorseful and felt “disgusted” by what she did and was “frightened of losing” Watkins.

c)       It was claimed that Watkins introduced Woman A to drugs and injected her with heroin.

d)      She was described by her barrister as vulnerable.

e)      Woman A’s barrister reportedly stated that there was nothing to reduce her culpability and that she accepted full responsibility.

f)       It was said that Woman A was not an obsessive fan seeking attention but was exploited by Watkins having allowed herself to be.

g)      Woman A’s barrister closed by asking the judge to look at the planning of the offences, commenting that it was chilling. That presumably referred to the planning and manipulated by Watkins.

Woman B:

a)      She was a fan of Watkins. She had 1,200 images of him on her iPod Touch.

b)      She said to Watkins ‘You are a big deal, you are Ian Watkins’ and he told Woman B ‘I am. You and your daughter now belong to me’.

c)       There were traces of meth amphetamine in Woman B’s child’s hair. It was submitted that it showed the child was exposed to the drugs, but not taken by the child. The judge reportedly replied with ‘I find that a little hard to swallow’.

d)      Woman B’s barrister disputed the view taken by the Judge that it was ‘obvious’ to see the enjoyment the mother gets from the abuse of her child.

e)      The Judge reportedly said that this was a classic case where there should be no credit for a guilty plea.

f)      She was described as ‘a very immature young woman’ suffering from an undiagnosed personality disorder and post natal depression when she first met Watkins.

Rupert Evelyn, a journalist for ITN, was tweeting live from the court room. You can see his twitter feed here.

The Daily Mirror live reported from the hearing. Their account can be viewed here.

Sentencing remarks

Here is a PDF of the sentencing remarks. Woman A is referred to as ‘B’ in the sentencing remarks, and Woman B is referred to as P.

The following exceprts were taken from news reports.

The Judge said:

‘This case breaks new ground. What the three of you did plumbs new depths of depravity.’

On Watkins:  ‘Watkins had power and knew he could use that power to partake in insatiable lust.’ and ‘he clearly had delight in engaging in sexual activity with children’

On Watkins: Mr Justice Royce said: “I am satisfied that you are a deeply corrupting influence. You are highly manipulative…You are a sexual predator. You are dangerous. The public, and in particular young females and children, need protection from you.”

On Woman A’s behaviour: ‘You are mother, your infant was 10 months old, a mother naturally loves… cherishes… you totally betrayed that trust”

On the planning between Woman A and Watkins: ‘could there be a greater betrayal?’

On Woman A and Watkins’ activities: ‘What you are doing is sickening and incomprehensible’ and ‘”In all it’s a dreadful catalogue of abuse of a previously innocent boy to satisfy your own interests and lusts.”

On Woman B and Watkins: Watkins told Woman B about the child: ‘that’s all she will know. A life of filth’

On the messages between Woman B and Watkins: ‘They defy belief’

On Watkins and Woman B’s child: ‘Watkins viewed the child as a sex object’

Dangerousness

The Judge said he had no doubt that there was a serious risk to the public posed by Watkins. This required either a life sentence or an Extended Sentence.

In the event, the Judge imposed an extended sentence on Watkins and determinate (ordinary) sentences on both women.

Guilty plea discounts

Woman A: Full 1/3 credit for early plea of guilty

Woman B: 10 %

Watkins: 10 %

The Judge said it was arguable that Woman B and Watkins should receive no credit at all because the case was so overwhelming.

Sentence

The Judge adjourned over lunch and said he would pass sentence at 2pm.

When he returned, he imposed the following sentences.

Ian Watkins:  35 year extended sentence: 29 years imprisonment, 6 year extended licence

He will serve 2/3 before he can apply for parole. He will then serve the remainder of the 29 years on licence, then an additional 6 years on licence.

Woman A: 14 years determinate

Woman B: 17 years determinate

Both women will serve half of their sentences in custody and the remainder on licence.

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Lyndon is the General Editor of Current Sentencing Practice and the Criminal Appeal Reports (Sentencing)

22 COMMENTS

  1. My layman’s view is that the women are equally guilty (possibly more so because of the betrayal of trust involved), and so should receive equal sentences. This looks like another case where the Courts are more lenient towards women than men, for no logical reason other than a stereotype of women as the ‘weaker sex’ – which the case shows is not the reality.
    Sex equality should include sentencing equality.

  2. Not going to get involved in that. Mercifully I have not seen the evidence.

    I wondered about any discount at all for the late pleaders given the overwhelming case, but then I thought that whatever their motive for pleading at least twelve jurors have been spared seeing what must be the stuff of nightmares.

    Given totality he is not going to get anything consecutive if there are further prosecutions – which would in any event raise questions of a fair trial after the publicity – so I remain of the view that there should not be. Unless of course there are other collaborators of either gender involved.

  3. One of the more troubling things about this whole sorry tale is that the police were advised on several occasions by a girlfriend of Watkins about what he was up to and she wasn’t listened to, in other words not believed. Who knows if these victims could have been spared their ordeal had this inequality of the justice system, demonstrably in action here, not happened. Watch them spin and gloss over it now.

  4. Sister, the question is what did she say he said? If she just said he talked about doing the sort of thing he was eventually convicted of – well, fantasizing about it is not a crime. If she said he claimed to have done it, that’s another matter, although unless he gave her enough chapter and verse to enquire into it’s again not easy to see what they could have done. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20.

    What do you think of the sentences passed on the other defendants?

    • This sub-story of the 2008-onwards female informant whom the police heeded less at the time than we might now wish they had, was covered sparsely by the BBC this evening, with sound bites from the disgruntled informant, and from spokesman for the police (who might or not have been a senior police officer, and who happened to be female). The informant said she had named victims and (if I remember correctly) occasions and specific sexual acts, which answers one of Andrew’s points partially, and the police spokesman uttered generalities (quality of evidence, credibility of informant and such) by way of excuse-making that echoes another of Andrew’s valid points.

      My gut reaction, on hearing that South Wales was one of the police forces criticised and defended, was (tongue-in-cheek) to hope that Maurice Kirk is nominated as a candidate for Police Commissioner next election.

      The said frustrated informant complained that she had had to remain in a relationship with the repulsive Mr Watkins, to avoid blowing her cover, jeopardising her mission to acquire better and better evidence to pass to the police, none of which was ever good enough for them to act to curtail his activities.

  5. I don’t think it matters what she said to the police. Her claims would have been dismissed, simply not listened to, by virtue of her gender and now that it turns out that she was right they’ll find an excuse (which will extend to undermining her as a credible source of information) to wriggle off the hook for taking no action whatsoever. That aside, there has been very little information published about the actual facts of what took place and what they actually did, save that it appears to have involved one or more child. For that reason I believe the sentence Watkins received was deserved but at the same time I was also shocked at the severity if that makes sense. Normally they talk up how bad and heinous the crime is and then turnaround hand down what appears to be a lenient sentence. This time the judge talked up the crime and handed down a severe sentence comparable to the crime also it sends a powerful message. I imagine one or more may appeal.

    As a mother I’m also not buying the “I was under his spell” defence as seems to have been put forward by one or more of the mothers in this case. I imagine as a parent yourself being spellbound would not prevent you from acting in the best interests of your child and keeping them safe from harm. Again not knowing the full facts it appears to be a weak argument and failing to take responsibility for what one actually did and therefore entirely deserving of their sentence received.

    • In actual fact, re: The Police & complainants, the reverse is true. If a claim is made of any sexual allegations the police no longer ‘investigate’ or even test the claims for credibility in any way. Cases are handed to the CPS, and the CPS invariably prosecute regardless. This is just as bad as the scenario you picture – some ‘sisters’ aren’t as honourable as yourself and ‘results’ driven policing is just as unethical. I hope you would agree that every person – male or female – needs to expect a degree of equality and reason from the forces of law & order. Going from one extreme to another doesn’t get us that.
      We have no idea what the woman claiming to be Watkins’ ex reported or didn’t report and she has allied herself to people in the media who I’d describe as ‘dodgy’, and in particular someone motivation by taking police forces retrospectively via Twitter in order to feather his own nest. Which isn’t to cast any aspersions on her, but I work on the basis of ‘why is this person saying this, and are they saying this now?’.
      I cannot imagine any UK police force of taking allegations of the nature of which Watkins & co were convicted anything but seriously.

      • Seriously all the talking in the world isn’t going to change the fact that – when Watkins girlfriend told the Police about what HE was doing they ignored her. That was by virtue of her gender and nothing else. Who she hangs around with now it is an irrelevance she told them the truth. Nothing but nothing is going to change that fact. What would have been the harm in investigating it. Victims could have been spared had they bothered to do so. It’s their fault for not listening to her.

    • @ sisterhooduk

      “Her claims would have been dismissed, simply not listened to, by virtue of her gender …”

      I am quite sure that *that* wild generalisation of yours, tantamount as it is to an assertion that all police officers routinely dismiss any criminal intelligence supplied to them by female human sources (impartial witnesses, aggrieved persons, payrolled CHIS personnel and all other informants and witnesses), because the said intelligence sources happen to be female, is – how shall I put this acceptably? – a complete load of ovaries.

      Whatever you might have suffered personally in life, that has so engaged your emotions as to make it possible for you to make so rash a generalisation without even realising that the generalisation is rash, I implore you please to refrain from carrying *that* baggage into *this* most sensitive of discussions.

      • @ John Allman
        Nicely mansplained. Bravo! The evidence however, speaks for itself. “The girlfriend”, is just another vindictive female with an axe to grind against her current or soon to be ex therefore she is not to be believed or even listened to and we will not take any further action. Those are the facts. Prove otherwise.

        Further my direct experience working in police force in this country I know firsthand what those who are suppose to record crime, think and that also informs my opinion.
        Direct quotes

        “I don’t believe rape should be a crime it’s simply not possible for a male to be in the throes of sexual pleasure and manage to hold a knife or weapon steady at the same time”

        source group of male police officers.

        “If a woman reports that her estranged or ex partner/husband as being violent I don’t crime it. She is simply acting on the instructions of her lawyers so that she can get custody of the kids”

        source male police officer.

        The facts of life in a mans world but you’ll never know about that so take your entitled, load of prickery, self and check your privilege. Those of us in the real world know the truth.

        Further I missed the part where I do or give flying fuck for your instructions. You can take that as a NO but I wouldn’t expect a man to understand that word. Well i certainly feel a lot better. Still not silenced. Yours in Sisterhood.

        • Memory does not ‘serve’. I said you could ‘safely be ignored’, not that I would do so. Misquoting is the currency of trolls. Perhaps I should have said that you should not be taken as any kind of spkokes’man’ for women, as your views are atypical, thank goodness. Most women do not hate men on principle, and claim to be victims in all circumstances.

  6. As a matter of curiosity I always wonder what lawyers who have to defend clients like this who have pled guilty but who are also are entitled to a lawyer think of their clients. Is it all in days work for them, just another bundle, or does the monstrousness get to even the most hardened brief?

  7. I can only answer the last question for myself, sister. You concentrate on the job in hand – which is to bring out whatever can be said in favour of your client, and there is always something, so that s/he gets and is seen to get a sentence which reflects that as well as all that goes the other way. It’s part of the rule of law, just like defending the client who pleads not guilty and whom you if you were one of the jury or one of the magistrates would convict.

    And yes, sometimes it gets to you. I have defended a man convicted of murder whose victim’s body was found fourteen days after the death in a flat with no air con in a hot July, and the photos live with me thirty-odd years later.

    I know what you mean by “I believe the sentence Watkins received was deserved but at the same time I was also shocked at the severity”. If I may respectfully say so, for “shocked” read “surprised but pleased” and I think it means the same and that is how I felt. I had guessed at 20 and hoped for 25 – it sounds vindictive to say “hoped” but you know what I mean.

    I cannot help thinking that HMPS will have a job on their hands to make sure that they all serve anything like the sentence passed. I am not talking of appeals or escape – there may be some of their fellow guests who think the sentence was too long and that they ought to leave custody at once, feet first and in a box. Huntley and Rose West have both been attacked in prison, and the co-defendants won’t stay anonymous in prison for very long.

    • Depends which State. And whether he knew the Governor. If not then in many of them the ancient common law write de clave sanguinare abiacienda would issue: in English, Throw the bloody key away.

  8. Hi there,

    I was just wondering if anyone was surprised at the length of Ian Watkins’ sentence?

    In comparison, the people in the ‘Baby P’ case got far lighter sentences. Similarly, rapists and murders also always get far lighter sentences….. Something just doesn’t seem to make sense about this case…..

    If he knew he was facing such a large sentence why did he plead guilty, surely with all his money there would have been at least a small chance of convincing a jury or of only being convicted on lesser charges – he didn’t have anything to lose surely?

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