Ian Watkins child abuse: Band mates appeal for other victims to come forward

Ian Watkins
Image caption Ian Watkins will be sentenced on 18 December

Former band mates of paedophile Ian Watkins, who has admitted a string of child sex offences, have appealed for other victims to come forward.

Lostprophets said they would forever be "haunted" by what Watkins, 36, of Pontypridd, had done but were unaware of his actions.

In a statement they said they "never imagined him capable" of such offences.

Police called for victims to come forward after Watkins dramatically changed his pleas in court on Tuesday.

He pleaded guilty to a series of offences - described as "depraved" in court - including attempted rape of a baby.

South Wales Police officers are now investigating new leads after receiving around a dozen calls.

The police chief who led the inquiry said they would "work tirelessly to identify any other victims".

Det Ch Insp Peter Doyle described it as "the most shocking case I have ever seen".

Watkins will be sentenced on 18 December.

The other members of Lostprophets announced in October the band would disband amid the sex offence charges against Watkins.

Now, in a statement on Facebook over the weekend, Jamie Oliver, Lee Gaze, Luke Johnson, Mike Lewis and Stuart Richardson said they had "hoped it was all a mistake".

"Sadly, the true extend of his appalling behaviour is now impossible to deny," said the statement.

"Many of you understandably want to know if we knew what Ian was doing. To be clear: we did not," they added.

They urged any other victims to "contact the authorities".

The band described Watkins as a "difficult character" and said personal relationships with him had deteriorated in recent years "to a point that working together was a constant, miserable challenge".

Despite this, the band members said they "never imagined him capable of behaviour of the type he has now admitted".

Image caption Lostprophets was founded in Pontypridd in 1997 and has sold about 3.5 million albums worldwide

"We are heartbroken, angry, and disgusted at what has been revealed.

"This is something that will haunt us for the rest of our lives."

Watkins admitted two counts of attempted rape and 12 other offences - including sexual assault and taking, making and distributing indecent images of children - as his trial was due to start at Cardiff Crown Court alongside two women.

The court was told the two women sexually abused their own children and made them available to Watkins for him to abuse.

Woman A admitted the attempted rape of a baby after denying rape and two charges of sexual assault, as well as taking and distributing an indecent photograph of a child.

Woman B pleaded guilty to conspiring to rape a child, three sexual assault charges and four charges of taking, possessing or distributing indecent images.

'Take responsibility'

The evidence against Watkins came from computers, laptops and mobile phones with some recovered from "cloud" storage.

The court heard that he had filmed and kept the episodes of abuse which took place in various hotels in London and south Wales.

His former band mates said they hoped that Watkins would "truly take responsibility for what he's done".

The band was founded in Pontypridd in 1997 and has sold about 3.5 million albums worldwide.

Their music received heavy airplay on mainstream radio stations and they were a staple festival act at the likes of Reading and Leeds.

Meanwhile, a watchdog is investigating South Yorkshire Police's handling of complaints about Watkins.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the force's handling of a complaint made against Watkins in 2012.

The watchdog has already opened an investigation into whether South Wales Police failed to act quickly enough.

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