Jury retires in Wakefield Prison mobile phone trial of sex offender former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins

A jury has retired to consider verdicts in the trial of jailed former rock band singer accused of having a mobile phone in Wakefield Prison.

Thursday, 8th August 2019, 15:39 pm
Ian Watkins

Sex offender Ian Watkins is on trial at Leeds Crown Court over the discovery of the mobile phone at the maximum security jail in March last year.The jury of nine men and three women retired at 2.45pm on the fourth day of the trial.

Jurors have heard how Watkins handed over the phone to an officer so he could receive a visit from his mum.

The prison received a tip-off from one of Watkins’ ex-girlfriends that he was in possession of the device after he contacted her.

Ian Watkins

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Prison officers searched Watkins’ cell after the discovery of the phone and found a mobile phone charger along with 600 pages of letters from fans.Some of the letters were from female fans describing sexual fantasies.

Watkins pleads not guilty to the charge as he claims he was forced to keep the phone by other inmates on the prison’s D Wing.

Giving evidence, Watkins told the court how convicted murderers had come into his cell and ordered him to look after it.

The defendant claimed the men were acting on behalf of a serious criminal within the jail.

Leeds Crown Court

Watkins refused to name the prisoner, describing him as a “top boy”.

Watkins said: "He's from a proper criminal family. If I say too much people will know who I am talking about.

"He is not someone who gets his hands dirty.

"For a long time previously and after this there were rumours that this guy had members of staff running stuff for him."

Wakefield Prison

The former singer said he had been given a phone as part of a plan to extort money from his “groupies".

He told the jury that he believed his throat would have been slashed if had not looked after the phone.

The prosecution reject Watkins' claim that he had been forced to have the mobile phone.

During the trial opening, prosecutor Stephen Wood said: "What he was doing, it seems to the prosecution, is raising the defence of duress.

"The prosecution say quite simply that the defendant's talk of being threatened was not a truthful one.

"Even if there was a threat to him he was certainly not in imminent danger of death or physical injury."

Watkins' former girlfriend, Gabriella Persson gave evidence at the trial.

She described how she first met Watkins when she was 19 and had been a fan of his music.

Ms Persson said she had had been in a relationship with him until 2012.

She described the first message she received from Watkins while he was in custody.

She said the message read: "Hi Gabriella, Ella, Ella, Hey Hey Hey'

Ms Persson said the message was a reference to the Rihanna song Umberella.

She told the court she went on to have a mobile phone conversion with Watkins.

She said Watkins told her that she couldn't get into trouble for talking to him.

Mr Wood asked: "What about him getting into trouble?"

The witness replied: "He said he could get in to trouble but it was worth it because he could speak to me."

Ms Persson said she later discovered that she could get in to trouble for being in contact with Watkins.

She said: "I spoke to my partner about it. I was very scared and I made the decision to contact the prison to let them know."