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Ian Watkins, the former lead singer of the band Lostprophets, was back in court today for his sentencing hearing. Watkins pleaded guilty last month to 13 sexual assault charges involving children. You can read my prior post about his crimes HERE.
Today, Ian and his two co-defendants, mothers of the abused children who “offered up” their kids to Watkins, were in court to hear their sentences. And instead of accepting responsibility like his guilty plea last month would suggest, Watkins’ attorneys made some shameful excuses in the mitigation portion of sentencing.
As the hearing began, prosecutors told the court about a phone call Watkins made to a woman from his jail cell. In the call, Watkins said he planned to make a statement saying that his admission was “mega LOLz,” a figure of speech that, at one time, was printed on Lostprophets Tshirts. He told the woman, “It was mega lolz. I don’t know what everyone is getting freaked out about…I’m not a paedophile, I only pleaded guilty to avoid a trial.”
The judge then discussed some of the charges, and said that the children in the photos found on Watkins’ hard drive were from the ages of 2 – 14 years old.
The defense attorneys for Watkins began their mitigation by telling the court that since Watkins pleaded guilty and avoided a trial, he should be offered a more lenient sentence. The Defense then continued with their arguments, saying that social media plays a big part in this case and that Watkins’ fans were constantly trying to “hit on him.” They implied that Watkins was being set up.
The judge, in response, said that it is obvious that the videos of Watkins “depict horrific sexual abuse” and that it is completely unrealistic that he didn’t know what he did.
The Defense asked the judge to consider the drug use that Watkins has admitted to, saying that he has no memory of the attempted rapes. They also claimed that the child will also have no memory of the event, due to the child’s age.
They said that Watkins has been on 15 suicide checks while in jail, and that Watkins didn’t “groom” the mothers to produce their children for abuse, but that it was a joint crime.
According to his attorney, Watkins is “ashamed” and “appalled” by what he did. A psychiatric assessment done on him suggests that he was preoccupied with sex in general, and not specifically sex with a child.
The attorney then adds that they are not attempting to downplay the seriousness of the crimes, saying that Watkins has spent a year in prison and has “fallen very hard.” Watkins has no prior convictions.
After Watkins’ attorneys wrapped up, the mitigation for the two mothers began. “Mother A” was allegedly “manipulated and corrupted” by Watkins to facilitate his sexual desires. Her attorney said that she is deeply remorseful and that she was “frightened of losing him.”
Mother A is accepting full responsibility for what she has done, and “having once been to this very dark place, she is unlikely to revisit it.”
The judge responds that potential psychological damage to the children is “immense,” and that the planning that went into these crimes is “chilling.”
Mitigation for “Mother B” took place next. Her attorney said that she was a fan of Watkins and couldn’t believe that he was interested in her. In a message he sent to her, Watkins said, “You and your daughter now belong to me.” Her attorneys said that the drugs found in the child’s hair shows that she was exposed to the drugs, and didn’t actually ingest them, to which the judge replied, “I find that a little hard to swallow.”
The judge said that he could see obvious enjoyment the mother got from the abuse of her child. “This is a classic case that the evidence is so overwhelming there shouldn’t be credit,” the judge said.
The judge took a short break to consider the mitigation factors and decide sentencing. When he returned to the bench, he said that this case breaks new ground and that “what you three did plumbed new depths of depravity.” He told Watkins that he knew he could use his power to partake in “insatiable lust.”
To Mother A, the judge said, “You are a mother. Your infant was 10 months old. A mother naturally loves… cherishes… you totally betrayed that trust.”
On the planning between Mother A and Watkins, he said there could have been no greater betrayal and that it was sickening and incomprehensible.
Addressing the crimes between Mother B and Watkins, the judge said that Watkins told the mother about her daughter, “That’s all she will know – a life of filth.”
The judge said Watkins clearly has delight in engaging in sexual activity with tiny children, and that he has no hesitation in concluding that he poses a serious risk to the public.
Mother A received 14 years in prison, and she is entitled to a “one third discount” for her early plea.
Mother B received 17 years.
Watkins was sentenced last. He received 35 years total, 6 of those years in which he will be “on extended period of license,” which is similar to probation here in the United States. He was given 29 actual years in prison, but will only have to serve two thirds of that before being eligible for release. Once he is released, the 6 years of extended license will begin.
It’s not enough, in my opinion.
This case was horribly shocking and sad to follow. The fact that someone who, at one time, was admired by society, could abuse children like that is beyond sickening. Not to mention the fact that he seemingly STILL doesn’t accept full responsibility for what he’s done. Blaming the fans, blaming the drugs, saying that the children won’t remember what happened to them…It just leaves me speechless that someone could be so heartless.
Watkins is 36 years old now, and will be eligible for release when he is about 55 years old. Kinda scary.
UPDATE: 1/24/14 7:47 AM
As if this case didn’t leave you shaking your head enough, now Watkins is claiming that his sentence is “excessive” and is trying to get his sentence slashed. An appeal of the sentence was filed on January 21, 2014.
Watkins has also been moved to a different prison in Worcestershire to be closer to his mother, who is very ill after a kidney transplant surgery.
I’ll post any updates on his sentence appeal below.