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  1. ITV Report

Lostprophets' Ian Watkins sentenced to 35 years for 'sickening' sex abuse of children

Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins, performing with his band at Reading in 2010. Photo: PA Wire

Paedophile rock star Ian Watkins has been handed a 35 year sentence for a string of child sex offences which "plumbed new depths of humanity."

The former Lostprophets lead singer was told he would serve 29 years in jail with the final six on licence. He confessed to 13 offences and was described as a committed and determined paedophile.

His two accomplices, known only as "woman A" and "woman B" to protect their young victims, were jailed for 14 years and 16 years respectively.

Sentencing judge Mr Justice Royce said the case was one of the most horrific he had seen in court.

Condemning the singer's sex crimes, many of which have been too distressing to report, he said he was convinced Watkins was a dangerous, sexual predator who posed a continued risk. The judge said:

Those who have appeared in these courts over many years see a large number of horrific cases. This case, however, breaks new ground. You, Watkins, achieved fame and success as the lead singer of Lostprophets.

You had many fawning fans. That gave you power. You knew you could use that power to induce young female fans to help satisfy your insatiable lust and take part in the sexual abuse of their own children.

The court heard how the two women involved abused their children at the behest of Watkins, and were engaged in a "dark and sinister world" of drugs and sexual depravity. Sentencing "mother A" to 14 years in prison, the judge said she had committed the "greatest possible betrayal."

The search for further victims will continue, South Wales Police said, and there are other investigations taking place in Germany and in the USA.

A laptop seized from the singer's home in Pontypridd, South Wales, was unlocked by an expert from the intelligence agency GCHQ.

Watkins, who used a sick reference to his own perversion as his password, was also found to have encrypted files within an encrypted hard drive.

Watkins hid his stash of images on computer equipment with a storage capacity five times the size of that used by the South Wales Police force, with 2,862 sworn officers and 1,631 support staff, according to detectives. Detective Inspector Peter Doyle said:

His computer equipment contained 27 terabytes of storage space, which is five times the size of the South Wales Police's storage.

If you need 27 terabytes you are into that kind of world.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating three police forces over their handling of allegations against the singer.

The IPCC said it is investigating the effectiveness of the forces' responses to reports of abuse made to them between 2008 and 2012.

It said it was aware of a number of reports made to the South Wales Police from members of the public, Crimestoppers or other police forces before 2012, when Watkins was finally arrested.

The IPCC has considered information provided by West Yorkshire Police, Essex Police and the MPS, but is not investigating those three forces at this stage. Jan Williams, the watchdog commissioner, said:

As the criminal proceedings have now ended, questions are now rightly being asked as to whether Ian Watkins could have been brought to justice sooner, what steps were taken by police in response to allegations made against him as far back as 2008, and whether his celebrity status had any impact on the investigation.

That is exactly what the IPCC is seeking to establish.

We now have three separate independent investigations into South Wales, South Yorkshire and Bedfordshire Police running alongside each other involving the handling of information held on Mr Watkins prior to his arrest.

But this is complex and will take time. There are clearly links between the three investigations, which cover a four-year period and involve numerous allegations and reports, and the police response to each must be considered.

South Wales police are appealing for any other witnesses or potential victims to come forward and contact them with new information.

After sentencing Watkins was led away from the dock to the shouts of "yes" from the public gallery.