On 26th November 2013 Ian Watkins, the (former) lead singer of Lostprophets (a popular music group as a court reporter should call it) was due at Cardiff Crown Court to stand his trial on 24 charges of child sex offences.
He changed his pleas on some counts to guilty. These were attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13 (but not guilty to rape) and he “also admitted three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal“.
Mr Watkins was charged along with two women (known as A and B) : “
Woman A, admitted the attempted rape of a baby after denying rape and two charges of sexual assault as well as taking and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.
Woman B pleaded guilty to conspiring to rape a child, three sexual assault charges and four charges of taking, possessing or distributing indecent images.”
The sentencing hearing will be on 18th December.
These have been reported (with some details missing) in a fair amount of detail. We won’t recite them all here, but they were mostly acts of great depravity that involved very young children.
The very best that Mr Watkins can hope for is a lengthy (20-25 years) determinate sentence. The starting point is the Sexual Offences Sentencing Guidelines (p25). It would seem to be in the highest category (so a starting point of 15 years with a range of 13-19 years after a trial). The young age of the victims and the exploitation involved, when coupled with the other offences to which Mr Watkins pleaded guilty, take us above that.
There will have to be some ‘credit’ for the plea of guilty, although that will probably be small, about 10%. For that reason we would suggest the bracket of 20-25 years, probably towards the bottom end of that when the guilty plea is taken into account.
It may well be that he receives a life sentence (on the facts in the news so far, I would not be surprised). as for the two women, the press reports have been focussing on Mr Watkins and so there is a lot less detail, so it is not possible to comment on this stage.
It seems that the two women, possibly a the instigation of Mr Watkins, abused their own children and filmed it for the benefit of him (as well as making their children available for him to abuse).
Sentencing was adjourned, presumably for full reports to assess whether a life sentence should be imposed.
We will return to this, but until then, here is some further reading:
- Sentencing regime for dangerous offenders
- Life sentences under LASPO
- Court of Appeal ‘expect more’ life sentences post-LASPO
- How life sentences are calculated