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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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’
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.
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.