Leeds & West Yorkshire

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins 'gets hundreds of letters' in prison

Ian Watkins Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Leeds Crown Court was told he receives "hundreds of pages of letters"

Jailed former rock star Ian Watkins receives "hundreds of pages" of letters from women, a court has heard.

The ex-frontman of Welsh band Lostprophets denies possessing a mobile phone at HMP Wakefield, where he is serving a sentence for sexual offences.

Leeds Crown Court was told the 42-year-old receives "a lot of mail" from mostly female correspondents.

Jurors have heard Watkins was strip-searched after a woman claimed she spoke to him via a banned mobile.

Although the initial search, in March 2018, found nothing, the defendant 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.

On Tuesday, prison governor Tom Wheatley was asked by Watkins's barrister Gareth Burrows: "It's right to say that he's received a lot of mail, and continues to do so, from females?"

Mr Wheatley said he was not aware of the quantity but when asked whether it was "hundreds and hundreds of pages of letters", he said: "That would sound reasonable."

He said he could not confirm Mr Burrows's contention that the correspondents were "almost exclusively women".

Det Sgt Alan Whittle said in his evidence police had seized 600 pages of correspondence between Watkins and women.

Mr Burrows said: "It is clear that there are a number of females who continue to contact him in prison properly through the Prison Service through letters, through emails and visits."

The officer agreed with that and also agreed that some numbers in the phone appeared not to be connected to Watkins.

A police interview with the defendant was earlier read to the jury, in which Watkins maintained he had been forced to hold on to the phone for his fellow prisoners.

He said he was being forced to get money from his "groupies".

The trial continues.

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