Ian Watkins trial update

Taken from Wales Online:

5.20pm

The rest of the Lostprophets have remained silent through much of the police investigation, but lead guitarist Lee Gaze took to Twitter today to express his relief at the outcome of the case.

That was over quick. Thank ****,” he wrote.

“Thanks for the kind words. At least there is closure.”

5.17pm

Attention in the police investigation is now turning to finding whether there are any other victims of Watkins’ depraved abuse around the world.

The court case heard how Watkins encouraged a teenager in the US to fly to meet him dressed in a school uniform before filming her engaging in disgusting acts as his request.

4.39pm

Here’s an update of what’s happened today:

* Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins today pleaded guilty to 13 sex offences – including two of attempting to rape an 11-month-old baby. The paedophile rock star, aged 36 years, also admitted offences including sexually assaulting a child and conspiring to rape a child.

* Two female co-defendants, who cannot be identified, admitted sexually abusing their own children “at the behest of Ian Watkins”. All three were ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register by the judge, Mr Justice Royce, and they will be sentenced on December 18.

* Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, South Wales Police’s senior investigating officer in the case, said the investigation had uncovered “the most shocking and harrowing child abuse” he had ever seen. He said Watkins had “exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children” as he appealed for more potential victims and witnesses to come forward.

* Following today’s convictions, at a hushed Cardiff crown court, NSPCC Wales national head of service Des Mannion said: “Ian Watkins clearly had a dangerous obsession with the most severe and extreme forms of child sex abuse. His global public profile provided him with access to impressionable young women who he was able to manipulate to feed his horrific desires.  The length of his sentence should reflect this terrible abuse of power.”

* Catrin Evans, head of the complex casework unit at the Crown Prosecution Service, said the case demonstrated “sexual exploitation at its worst”.

4.15pm

We’ve just received this statement from Des Mannion, the national head of service for NSPCC Wales.

“The desire to sexually abuse small babies is something most of us find too horrific to comprehend.

“However within the significant rise in the number of child abuse images being distributed online over the past year, agencies like CEOP have noted both an increase in their severity and a significant decline in the ages of the children involved.

“Ian Watkins clearly had a dangerous obsession with the most severe and extreme forms of child sex abuse.

“His global public profile provided him with access to impressionable young women who he was able to manipulate to feed his horrific desires.

“The length of his sentence should reflect this terrible abuse of power.

“It’s a huge relief in this instance that the children involved were able to be identified and finally made safe but tragically this isn’t always the case.

“This is a global problem and in order to reach those who are still suffering, governments and law enforcement agencies need to work together to tackle this very complex issue.”

4.05pm

Here’s the full statement from DCI Peter Doyle, the senior investigating officer in the case: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I have ever seen.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children.

“Today’s outcome ensures that the three people responsible have been brought to justice.

“The safeguarding of children has been the primary objective for the investigation team and the outcome of this investigation has been achieved through a multi agency approach at an international level.

“Two very young children have been removed from this abuse and given a future that would otherwise have been denied them.

“The investigation has been extremely complex and challenging with key information and evidence being identified from witnesses worldwide.

“A significant amount of electronic data has been retrieved from computers and web based storage which has provided crucial evidence to support the case.

“South Wales Police has worked in partnership with Interpol, other police forces, National Crime Agency’s CEOP command, local authorities in England and Wales, the Department of Homeland Security in the USA and the NSPCC.

“Today’s outcome 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.

“Above all this investigation has been focused on the protection of children and my thoughts today are with those victims.”

3.35pm

Another line from DCI Doyle: “Today’s outcome does not mark the end of our investigations and we will work tirelessly to identify any other victims”

3.30pm

More from DCI Doyle: “There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children.”

3.29pm

DCI Peter Doyle, of South Wales Police: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I’ve ever seen.”

3.21pm

We’ve just received this statement from the Crown Prosecution Service. Catrin Evans, Head of Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service, Wales, said: “The three defendants in this case have admitted very serious sexual offences committed against extremely young children, demonstrating sexual exploitation at its worst.

“A number of the victims are too young to be able to understand what has happened to them, yet the defendants exploited them for their own gratification.

“The prosecution case is based on robust evidence uncovered by the investigation team and the South Wales Police High Tech Crime Unit. The CPS team worked closely with the police to build a strong case and this has been a major factor in today’s guilty pleas.

“The CPS will not tolerate child abuse; tackling this unacceptable crime is a priority for all of us in the criminal justice system.

“We have recently issued new guidelines for prosecutors dealing with child abuse cases and are committed to supporting victims and bringing those who abuse and exploit children before the courts.”

3.16pm

During his opening speech, Mr Clee said of the two female defendants: “Both, by their pleas, admitted they have sexually abused their own children at the behest of Ian Watkins.

“They also made their children available to Ian Watkins for him to be sexually abused.”

3.12pm

Watkins and the two female defendants will all be sentenced on Wednesday, December 18.

3.11pm

Prosecutor Christopher Clee’s opening remarks about Ian Watkins: “Ian Watkins was the lead singer of a successful band, The Lostprophets.

“He also, by virtue of his plea, accepts he is a determined and committed paedophile.

“He has engaged in serious sexual offences against two babies belonging to the female defendants in this case.

“Not only has he done so but he recorded and kept episodes of this abuse which were recovered by the police.”

2.52pm

The court is now hearing details about the case relating to Ian Watkins that are too graphic to be published.

2.49pm

The court has been hearing how Watkins recorded the attempted rape of a very young child in a hotel room in Shepherds Bush, London, in April 2012. He also filmed himself abusing the child with alongside the child’s mother inside a hotel where the band were staying.

2.42pm

In court, prosecutor Chris Clee QC has described Watkins as a “determined and committed paedophile”.

2.33pm

Watkins, with his hands clasped in front of him, rocked back and forth as he also admitted sexually assaulting a child aged under 13.

He also admitted aiding and abetting a female co-defendant to sexually assault a child under 13.

The singer, who has sold 3.5m records, looked at his feet as he admitted conspiracy to rape a child aged under 13, while his voice faltered as he quietly replied “guilty” to a charge of conspiring to sexually assault a child under 13.

He also pleaded guilty to possessing an indecent photograph of a child between August and December last year, a further charge of possessing four indecent photographs of children between August and December last year, and another charge of possessing five indecent images of children between last August and last September.

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent photographs of children dating back to 2007 and 2008.

Watkins also admitted possession of indecent photographs of a child and possessing extreme pornography depicting a person engaged in a sex act with an animal.

The musician, from Pontypridd, will be sentenced at a later date.

A 21-year-old woman, who cannot be named, admitted aiding and abetting an attempted rape, aiding and abetting rape, two counts of sexually assaulting a child aged under 13 years, taking indecent photographs of children and distributing indecent photographs of children.

A 24-year-old woman, who also cannot be named, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child aged under 13 by penetration.

She also admitted charges of sexually assaulting a child under 13 by touching, conspiracy to rape a child under 13, conspiracy to sexually assault a girl under 13, two counts of indecent photographs of a child and distributing indecent photographs of children.

2.32pm

Ian Watkins has pleaded guilty to a range of child sex charges, including two counts of attempting to rape a baby.

The 36-year-old rock star also admitted conspiring to rape another child as he dramatically changed his pleas on the day he was set to stand trial at Cardiff Crown Court.

His two female co-defendants also admitted a string of sex abuse charges against their own children.

Sally O’Neill QC, on behalf of Watkins, said while the musician claimed he “cannot remember” the attempted rapes – which were captured on video – he wanted the charges put to him again.

Watkins, who stood in the dock wearing a grey suit over a white shirt and dark tie, appeared ashen-faced as the charges were read out.

As the counts were put to him, Watkins repeatedly looked to his legal team as he replied.

He denied two counts of raping an 11-month-old baby but admitted two counts of attempting to rape the child – the baby of one of his co-accused.

2.20pm

Ian Watkins has pleaded guilty to 13 sex offences – including two of attempting to rape a baby