Today, the lead singer of south Wales rock band Lost Prophets, denied 23 sexual offences involving children, including two charges of raping a baby.
The 35-year-old singer, whose band has sold more than 3.5 million records worldwide, was arrested with two women (aged 20 and 24) in December 2012. The three were remanded into custody, where they have remained ever since.
Watkins and the two women appeared before the Cardiff Crown Court Recorder of Cardiff Judge Eleri Rees via video links to courtroom number one, watched by a large group of people sitting in the public gallery. Watkins’ link was to Parc Prison, Bridgend where he is being held, while the two females were livestreamed from the Eastwood Parp Prison in Gloucester.
A total of 32 charges were read out by the female clerk to the court and the the defendants were asked to enter guilty or not guilty pleas.
Watkins has denied the following offenses, which vary in alleged dates from 2007 to December 2012:
- Two charges of raping a baby
- One of conspiracy to rape another child
- One of sexual assault
- One of aiding and abetting sexual assault by penetration
- One of conspiracy to sexually assault a child
- 11 of making indecent images
- Two of taking indecent images
- Four of possessing indecent images
- One of possessing extreme pornographic images involving an animal
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of raping one child in April 2012 and conspiring to rape and to sexual assault another, several months older than the first, between August and October the same year.
He went on to deny the sexual assault of the first child and aiding and abetting an assault by penetration on the second.
There were also not guilty pleas to the possession, the taking and the making of indecent images of children and to one charge of possessing an extreme pornographic image between January and December 2012.
That charge reletes to an alleged image which was ‘grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character’ involing a person and an animal.
The charges relating to indecent images of children allege offending by Watkins between 2007 and 2012.
The two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have denied all charges as well. The 24 year old woman is accused of the same offenses as Watkins, while the second woman, aged 20, is accused of the same offences except conspiracy to rape.
In his statement, he said:”I want to thank my family, friends and all the fans for the continued support throughout this whole ordeal. Your support gives my strength. I deny all the allegations made against me and I will continue to fight to clear my name.”
The case is to be listed again before Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday and is expected to be tried at the end of the year before a jury, with an anticipated duration of three to four weeks.
Lost Prophets released a statement the day after Watkins’ arrest expressing shock. No further statements have been issued since and the band has basically disappeared from public view.