Paedophile ex-Lostprophets singer gets more prison time over phone possession
Former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins has been jailed for 10 months on top of the sentence he is serving for child sex offences after he was found guilty of possessing a mobile phone in prison.
On Friday, a jury at Leeds Crown Court found the 42-year-old guilty of possessing the phone at HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire after deliberating for two hours and 21 minutes.
Watkins (pictured), who had his dark hair in a ponytail in court and wore a denim jacket with white trim, claimed two inmates forced him to hold on to the phone so they could contact women who sent him fan mail in order to use them as a “revenue stream”.
In his evidence, the defendant refused to name the men, but said: “You would not want to mess with them.”
He also said his fellow inmates were “murderers, mass murderers, rapists, paedophiles, serial killers – the worst of the worst”.
Watkins was jailed in 2013 after admitting 13 sex offences which a judge said “plumbed new depths of depravity”, including the attempted rape of a baby.
He was given an extended sentence which included a 29-year prison term followed by an additional six years on licence.
The disgraced rock star even spoke with a female fan from prison the day after admitting two counts of attempted baby rape and said he was going to issue a statement saying it had all been “mega lolz”.
Sentencing Watkins, Judge Rodney Jameson QC said: “I am very conscious of the fact you are serving a very long time and you will be well into middle age by the time you are released.
“The fact of the matter is if there is not an appreciable penalty for having had a mobile phone in these circumstances then of course you would draw from that the lesson you could have another one and that is not a position I would want to encourage.”
He said he did not accept Watkins had the phone, which was in his possession for five days, because he had been threatened.
Gareth Burrows, defending, said Watkins would be eligible to apply for parole in 2029.
He said: “The reality is this is a man whose liberty has been and will be restricted for a considerable period of time.
“The mobile phone, Your Honour may think, gave him some degree of freedom that he just can’t get in any other way.”
The judge said the sentence would delay the time when Watkins could apply for parole by five months.
During the five-day trial at Leeds Crown Court, the jury heard Watkins was strip-searched in the jail in March 2018 and then produced a small phone from his body after he became concerned that he would not be able to see his mother who was visiting from Wales.
Stephen Wood, prosecuting, said the phone, a small GT-Star, had been used to contact a woman named Gabriella Persson, who jurors were told had been in a relationship with Watkins but stopped contacting him in 2012.
The prosecutor said she resumed talking to him in 2016 through letters, phone calls and via legitimate prison emails.
Miss Persson told jurors how she received a text in March 2018 from a number she did not recognise which just said: “Hi Gabriella-ella,-ella-eh-eh-eh”.
She said the message, a reference to the hit Rihanna song Umbrella, made her think that Watkins was contacting her, but she then phoned the number to confirm it was.
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