Sex offender Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins found guilty of possessing mobile in prison

Ian Watkins
Ian Watkins

Former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins has been found guilty of possessing a mobile phone while in prison.

The phone was found on the 42-year-old in HMP Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where he is serving a sentence for sex offences.

Watkins denied the charge, saying that two inmates forced him to hold on to the device so that they could contact women who have sent him fan mail in order to use them as a "revenue stream".

In his evidence, the defendant - who jurors have been told is serving a sentence for sex offences - refused to name the men, but described them as "murderers and handy", adding: "You would not want to mess with them."

He also said that those who he is currently locked up with are "murderers, mass murderers, rapists, paedophiles, serial killers - the worst of the worst".

Watkins was jailed in 2013 for after admitting 13 sex offences which a judge said "plumbed new depths of depravity", including the attempted rape of a baby.

He was given an extended sentence which included a 29-year prison term followed by an additional six years on licence.

The disgraced rock star even spoke with a female fan from prison the day after admitting two counts of attempted baby rape and said he was going to issue a statement saying it had all been "mega lolz".

During the five-day trial at Leeds Crown Court, the jury heard Watkins was strip-searched in the jail in March 2018 after a woman called to say she thought he had been talking to her on a banned mobile.

Although the initial search 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.

Stephen Wood, prosecuting, said the phone, a small GT-Star, had been used to contact a woman named Gabriella Persson, who jurors were told had been in a relationship with Watkins but stopped contacting him in 2012.

The prosecutor said that she resumed talking to him in 2016 through letters, phone calls and via legitimate prison emails.

Ms Persson told jurors how she received a text in March 2018 from a number she did not recognise which just said: "Hi Gabriella-ella,-ella-eh-eh-eh".

She said that the message, a reference to the hit Rihanna song Umbrella, made her think that Watkins was contacting her, and she then phoned the number to confirm he was.

Mr Wood said that it was she who reported the defendant's use of the phone, and that the prosecution reject the contention that Watkins had been forced to keep and use it in March 2018.

The court heard Watkins received "hundreds and hundreds of pages of letters" from women while in prison.