Paedophile former Lostprophets singer found guilty of possessing mobile phone in Wakefield Prison

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Paedophile former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins has been found guilty of possessing a mobile phone in Wakefield Prison.

A jury at Leeds Crown Court found the 42-year-old sex offender guilty after hearing how he handed the phone to prison officers in March last year.
Watkins is serving a 35 year sentence for a string of child sex offences including the attempted rape of a baby.

He had ten months added to his sentence for the mobile phone offence.

Jurors 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.

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 pleaded not guilty to the charge, claiming 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.

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."

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 rejected Watkins' claim that he had been forced to have the mobile phone.

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.

Watkins pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court in 2013 to 13 child sex offences.

A judge said the case broke "new ground" and "plunged into new depths of depravity".

Watkins was sentenced to 29 years in prison with a further six years on licence, but he will be eligible for parole after serving two thirds of the prison term.

He was sentenced alongside two mothers, known as Woman A and Woman B, who also pleaded guilty to child abuse charges.

Watkins admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13 but pleaded not guilty to rape.

He also admitted conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven 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 Justice Royce said Watkins had a “corrupting influence” and had shown a “complete lack of remorse”.

He added that Watkins posed a significant risk to the public, in particular women with young children.