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Lostprophets star admits abuse plot
Rock singer Ian Watkins has been labelled a " determined and committed paedophile" after he pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences, including the attempted rape of a baby.
The drug-crazed former lead singer with multi-million selling band Lostprophets plotted the abuse with two mothers in a series of text and internet messages in which he spoke of his desire to "cross the line" and to intoxicate one of his victims by blowing crystal-meth smoke into the child's face.
Watkins, 36, from Pontypridd, south Wales, pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences he had previously denied in a last-minute change of plea ahead of what would have been his trial at Cardiff Crown Court.
The charges included sexually touching a one-year-old and encouraging a crazed groupie to abuse her own child during a sordid webcam chat.
Watkins also admitted possessing and making child porn as well as launching the plot to rape a baby.
The disgraced rocker was originally charged with actual rape but insisted sex with the child did not take place during a drug-fuelled binge he claims he was on at the time.
Watkins originally faced 24 separate charges, including two of actual child rape.
He pleaded guilty to 11 charges today, nine of which were unchanged, and two of attempted baby rape.
Prosecutor Christopher Clee QC told the judge that both of the attempted rape admissions were accepted, partly to spare a jury the ordeal of having to watch sordid video evidence of the singer's crimes.
The prosecutor said there was an argument regarding what key video evidence seized from Watkins's laptop actually showed.
"From the footage, there is an argument as to whether the full offence (of rape) is made out," he told judge Mr Justice Royce.
"If it is made out, it is minimal. There is so little difference between the full attempt and the attempt as to make no difference.
"We are prepared to accept the pleas as tendered."
He also told the judge that the prosecution had in mind the effect on the jury of watching the explicit video footage.
Previous hearings discussed arranging counselling for jurors who might need it.
As sentencing arrangements were discussed in court, a pale faced and grey haired Watkins began shaking in the dock.
Mr Clee gave details of a sickening plot to turn babies into sex objects.
He said: "Ian Watkins was the lead singer of a successful band called the Lostprophets.
"He was also a determined and committed paedophile engaged in serious sex offences involving two babies."
Mr Clee read aloud to the court a series of text and internet messages between Watkins and two female co-defendants.
Watkins and Woman A swapped messages where the frontman spoke of his sick desire to "make him mine" and to "cross the line".
They also spoke of plans to blow crystal-meth smoke into the child's face at a secret meeting in a Cardiff hotel.
And on March 23, Watkins sent the woman a message saying he wanted a "summer of filthy child porn" and how he wanted to take things "to the next level".
Mr Clee also gave details of a sickening 17-minute video involving Watkins and Woman A.
Mr Clee said camcorder footage was shot in a London hotel room which showed Watkins perform a sex act on the child.
Computer analysts found the footage uploaded to an online storage facility.
Mr Clee said that following this meeting, the pair exchanged emails about how they would not go "easy" on the child next time.
The court heard that the tattooed singer claims he has no memory of the key video evidence.
Mr Clee outlined a series of meetings between Watkins and the two female fans, who were the mothers of the baby abuse victims targeted by him.
Watkins also indulged in a depraved virtual sex session in October last year where, using Skype, he got woman B, aged 24, to abuse her baby at his instigation.
Detectives successfully downloaded the recorded footage, 45 minutes long, in which Watkins talks about how they were going to use the baby for sex.
In the footage, which takes the form of a split screen, Watkins is seen to pleasure himself and refer to the woman and her baby as his "slave duo."
The pair also discuss looking after the child as it grows up and making it have sex with animals and take drugs.
The child's mother, speaking to Watkins, also refers to her baby as "your little **** toy."
At a later date she sent him a picture of herself having oral sex with the baby.
Mr Clee said that when police raided the home of Watkins following his arrest in September last year they also found a box of camcorder cassettes.
These proved to hold recordings of filmed sex acts with under age girl fans, one of whom he met up with in a New York hotel.
Mr Clee said that one girl, 16, contacted Watkins saying she was a fan who was still a virgin and went on to agree to give her virginity to him.
She then flew from Boston to New York and went to a hotel where he was staying, bringing with her a schoolgirl outfit he had asked her to dress in.
They are then filmed having oral and full sex before he asks her: "Do you like being my underage slut."
Mr Clee added: "He finishes by urinating over her face and telling her to 'drink my p***.'"
He said that Watkins, after being arrested, originally claimed that he was being stalked by a "crazed fan."
"The suggestion being made by Ian Watkins was that he was the victim of a malicious campaign to label him a paedophile," Mr Clee said.
He also said that a laptop seized from Watkins's home was password protected and was later sent to GCHQ to have it "cracked."
When it eventually was the password was discovered to be "If***kids."
Watkins will be sentenced on December 18 at the same court.
Watkins pleaded guilty to 13 offences in total.
They included two counts of attempted rape and sexual assault by touching on Woman A's baby.
He also confessed to aiding and abetting Woman B to sexually abuse her own child, two conspiracy charges.
And he pleaded guilty to possessing and making indecent photographs of children as well as having extreme pornographic material involving bestiality on his computer hard drive.
Following Watkins' sudden change of heart, both two-female co-defendants also confessed to carrying out sex crimes against their two children.
Woman A admitted six offences in total.
They included attempting to perform oral sex on her own child as well as aiding and abetting Watkins to try and have full sex with the child. She also pleaded guilty to sexually touching the youngster.
Woman B pleaded guilty to seven offences. They included sexual assault by penetration on her own child as well as conspiring to rape and sexually assault the child.
She also confessed to five offences involving taking, possessing and distributing indecent images of a child.
Originally, Watkins had faced two counts of rape against Woman A's child.
The Crown decided not to pursue the matter once his plea had changed, with prosecuting QC Mr Clee saying the the extent of the attempted rape was so serious that a conviction in the other charge would not have made a difference to the defendant's sentence.
Also, pursuing the contested matter - given the inconclusive nature of the video - could have resulted in a jury having to view the distressing footage .
A pool of 22 potential jurors smiled in relief as they were told by Mr Justice Royce that a trial was no longer taking place - and their services would no longer be required.
Catrin Evans, head of the complex casework unit at the Crown Prosecution Service Wales, said: "The three defendants in this case have admitted very serious sexual offences committed against extremely young children, demonstrating sexual exploitation at its worst.
"A number of the victims are too young to be able to understand what has happened to them, yet the defendants exploited them for their own gratification.
"The prosecution case is based on robust evidence uncovered by the investigation team and the South Wales Police high tech crime unit.
"The CPS team worked closely with the police to build a strong case and this has been a major factor in today's guilty pleas.
"The CPS will not tolerate child abuse. Tackling this unacceptable crime is a priority for all of us in the criminal justice system.
"We have recently issued new guidelines for prosecutors dealing with child abuse cases and are committed to supporting victims and bringing those who abuse and exploit children before the courts."