Episode 45 - The Crimes Of Ian Watkins

This story discusses sexual assault, paedophilia, incest and drug use. It is one of the worst cases of these crimes to be tried before the courts in living memory. 

As you read, you will hear how the perpetrator of these horrendous crimes is a previously well-known, and respected musician, and how his position was leveraged to enable him to get away with these crimes for much longer than he would have otherwise. The crimes he committed against children, infants and women will both shock and repulse you. I will include a list of services in the description where you can seek help if any of the issues raised here are triggering to you.  

Ian David Karslake Watkins was born on the 30th of July 1977 to loving parents. He was born and raised in Merthyr Tydfil which is a small borough that lies to the north of Cardiff in Wales. Ian was a content and happy child, who loved the outdoors and his family. He was intelligent and sociable and made friends easily.  

Devastatingly, Ian’s birth father died when Ian was just five years old. After a couple of years, Ian’s mother Elaine, met and married John Watkins. The family then moved to Pontypridd where John took up a position as a Baptist church minister. The local manse became their home and Ian thrived in a faithful and humble family environment. Ian’s home life was filled with love, encouragement and nurturing from both John and Elaine in those early years.  

As Ian reached his middle school years, he developed a passion for music. No matter the instrument Ian would figure out how to play it. His bright and inquisitive mind meant he enjoyed the thrill of learning something new and it didn’t take long for his family to realise he had a real talent for entertainment through his musical passions.  

When Ian started attending Hawthorn High School and became more independent with his music tastes he was drawn to rock and metal music and began to listen to artists like  Faith No More, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Megadeth. It was during this time that Ian met Mike Lewis who would become a lifelong friend. The two had a mutual passion for both listening to and playing metal music. In 1991 the pair decided to form their own rock band which they called Aftermath. The genre of music they played together was known as thrash metal and the pair would spend every spare moment in Ian’s back garden writing or playing their own music. Whilst his parents didn’t understand the genre they encouraged his musical talents and supported his passions.  

Whilst Ian and Mike were passionate enough about their music, the audience in their small town didn’t understand the appeal of the genre. After two years together they had only played in front of an audience twice and the pair decided to call it quits on their band-  though their friendship continued.  

A few months after disbanding Ian was introduced to Lee Gaze who was keen to start a new band together. This time the pair decided to try out a new genre of music which was heavily influenced by American hardcore punk. They called their band Fleshbind and this time their music seemed to appeal more broadly. They were invited to play at local gigs and events and even opened for Feeder in London.   

But the band’s success was similarly short lived and both Ian and Lee decided to call it quits on Fleshbind.  

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By now Ian had finished high school as a straight A student and had started attending college.  He was studying graphic design at the University of Wales in Newport where – in usual Ian fashion, he was exceeding. During this time he reunited with Mike Lewis who was now a member of a band called Public Disturbance. Ian and Lee formed a new band called LoztProphetz spelt with two Zs. They debuted their new band alongside Public Disturbance in 1997. Ian was playing for both bands but vocalising for the first time in Public Disturbance. A year after the debut Ian left Public Disturbance to focus on another new band. He brought Mike Lewis, Lee Gaze and Mike Chiplin together, and formed a new band. This time it was called the Lostprophets spelt all with lower case letters and the zs replaced with Ss.   

Ian went on to graduate from University with a first-class honour’s degree. Life was fairly straightforward during this time. But the popularity of the Lostprophets was gradually increasing. In the year 2000, they recorded and released their debut album The Fake Sound of Progress. These were the years before social media and their fanbase had previously been confined to mostly local followers. But the album release had been met with rave reviews and attracted a whole new wave of fans.  Despite the album being produced by a small independent label on a very small budget fans were drawn in by Ian’s unique vocals and catchy chorus lines. Just months after its release the band were invited to open for Linkin Park and perform at the 2011 Reading Festival.  

It didn’t take long before the Lostprohets were approached to sign for a higher profile record label called QPrime. They were the label which represented Metallica and Red Hot Chilli Peppers so the decision to sign was a no-brainer for the band. After signing with the new label the band began production of their second album.  

Once again it was met with rave reviews and this time the band were given the chance to undertake their first international tour. They were flown in style from Wales to Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In 2004 alone the band performed more than 84 concerts with their most well-known performance being a sold-out show at the Cardiff International Arena.  

Their third album called Liberation Transmission was released in 2006 and immediately went to number one in the UK album charts. The first single from the album went on to reach number eight in the charts and it was this success which confirmed for them that The Lostprohets had gone mainstream. Their appeal was no longer relegated to underground rock lovers or alternative types.  


It was a dream come true for the humble and God-faring young man, Ian. He had finally found success with his music and his personal fanbase was growing. But the image Ian presented to the world could not have been in further contrast to the picture fans had in their minds of a typical rockstar.  

In fact in all of Ian’s interviews during those early years, he confirmed rumours that he didn’t drink alcohol or use drugs. Despite the lifestyle of those around him he remained sober and favoured writing and playing music over partying. After these revelations, his appeal to women was off the charts. He dated a number of well-known celebrities and was seen as a heartthrob across the world. He was the perfect example of a man raised in faith who was able to sustain a wholesome lifestyle despite his celebrity rockstar status.  

Unbelievably his appeal increased even further when in 2008 he organised a New Years’ eve charity concert to benefit the Kidney Wales Foundation. Ian’s mother Elaine had struggled with kidney issues in the previous years and eventually, she required a kidney transplant. At the time he commented “Having that direct experience is why I wanted to get more involved with Kidney Wales and organise a fundraising concert on New Year’s Eve.” 

So not only was he a sober rockstar with ruggedly handsome good looks and musical gifts, but he was also a family man who loved his mother and supported charities.  

He was irresistible!  

In 2009 he decided to branch out on his own in a side venture. He started a project he called “L’Amour La Morgue“.“L’Amour La Morgue” was much more about music production than musical performance.  The 17 tracks he released under this moniker were comprised of remixes of popular songs from a broad range of genres such as Beyonce, the Killers, Tears for Fears, Bring me the Horizon and Young Guns.  

In 2010 the Lostprophets released yet another album, this time titled The Betrayed. Given their huge success, they were now attracting requests for collaborations from some of music’s biggest names. Yet again the album was hugely successful and the band set off on another worldwide tour. Just two years later, in 2012 they released their fifth album called Weapons.  

 It was whilst they were touring to promote The Betrayed album that the image Ian had been presenting to the world began to fracture.  


As the internet and social media were growing in popularity rumours began to spread about who Ian was behind closed doors. Transcripts of chat rooms and myspace accounts began to be brought into the limelight and internet anonymity was relegated to the past. Fans began to call his behaviour “bizarre” and images of Ian in compromising positions with other adults began to emerge.  

 At first the images were considered vulgar but Ian was a grown man who could do as he pleased. Initially, it seemed as if his fans were mostly disappointed that he had presented himself as a clean guy who didn’t drink or do drugs and was a goody-two-shoe type when in fact he was just as rockstar as all the other musicians of the genre.   

But over the coming weeks and months, internet sleuths uncovered more and more of Ian’s online activity. And rather than revealing a guy who simply had some unusual kinks, they exposed a depraved and heinous offender whose crimes would be irreconcilable with the image he portrayed to the public. Even more shockingly, it would be discovered that opportunities to stop his offending had been missed in part due to Ian’s celebrity status. 


When images of Ian in compromising positions with other adults were first publicised, a journalist from a music magazine asked Ian to explain what they were looking at. Ian joked around with the reporter and stated that he had taken some pictures and leaked them on the internet as a joke.  He thought it would be funny to see others’ reactions to the photos but he didn’t expect them to be taken seriously.  

But his explanation failed to hold water when a video was released purporting to show Ian carrying out depraved acts with very young fans who appeared to be in their teens. Whilst Ian protested that the person in the video wasn’t him, it became clear from the still frames of the video that the tattoos on the person’s arm were a perfect match for his own ink.  

Police only began to take the comments seriously when it was commented that Ian had a history of viewing and sharing child abuse images and animal pornography.  

It seemed that Ian would contact fans directly through the fan message boards to solicit them for sex. But it wasn’t just sex that Ian wanted. He was hunting for victims. And it was not adults he was most interested in. It was children. Infants specifically. The younger the better. 

Message boards dedicated to the Lostprophets were scrutinised and it became clear that fans had been discussing Ian’s depravity for a number of years, this wasn’t new news. Whilst many thought the stories were a joke, there were fans who knew the claims to be real. They were posting about their own experiences with Ian including comments he had made about his dark desires. 

Ian’s behaviour had escalated in recent years and he was now communicating with women via Lostprophets fan pages who were mothers and would allow Ian access to their young children. When Ian would discover a post from a fan who had a child, especially a very young child he would message them to ask to meet up and he was clear from the outset what he wanted from them. There was no denying that many of these women knew what they were signing themselves and their children up for.  

Ian leveraged his position of power and fame to seduce women who were complicit and in some cases eager, for him to sexually abuse their children. These innocent children had their choices taken away by the very person who should have protected them.  

For years Ian presented himself as a faithful, sober and talented musician. The reality of who Ian Watkins is couldn’t be further from the truth.  


In 2012 Ian was arrested and charged in the Cardiff magistrates court with conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a one-year-old girl and possession and/or distribution of indecent images of children and “extreme animal pornography“. 

He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges when he appeared via video link in June 2013. It was then announced the trial would begin in November of that same year. Ian claimed he had not carried out the crimes but if the videos were in fact of him then he “cannot remember” being involved in them and must have been wasted on drugs at the time.  

Alongside Ian two women were also arrested and charged with providing Ian access to their children with the intention for sexual acts to be carried out against them. One of the children was under one year old.  

I am now going to discuss the evidence which was revealed during the court proceedings. It is here that the description of Ian’s crimes becomes much more graphic and detailed. If you do not want to hear the disturbing details of Ian’s offences I urge you to skip the episode to **minutes** to hear the conclusion of the case and sentencing.  


The charges stretched back as far as five years before Ian was officially charged with any crime.  

It’s not known how the incident which prompted the investigation first came to light but it appears as though Ian attempted to rape an infant child at a four-star hotel in 2012. Police were made aware of this incident and when they looked closer into Ian’s online activity they became aware of an encrypted hard drive in his possession. Investigators were able to access the content on the drive and the extent of Ian’s depravity began to unravel. Ian had a propensity to record his deviant acts and the drive contained the footage he had recorded. Footage of the attempted rape of the infant was found on the drive. 

Some of the sexual acts were performed on the children by their own mothers while Ian watched via webcam. Other incidents happened in person when Ian brought the women and their children to his home or hotel room.  

There was also footage of Ian blowing smoke from a crack pipe into the face of the child. It turned out Ian had been using crack and crystal meth for some time whilst he maintained his innocent image in public.  

Ian’s text messages and chat room conversations were also scrutinised. When police realised that there could be more victims and that they could be located around the world given the Lostprohets international tours, they issued a public statement asking anyone who was a victim of Ian to come forward.  

They codenamed their investigation Operation Globe and confirmed detectives had spoken to witnesses around the world and would continue to investigate Ian in case there were other victims. 

Some of the transcripts of Ian’s messages were released to the public. In these messages, some of the vilest acts were planned and discussed between Ian and the mothers of his victims. 


Ian repeatedly talks about how he wanted “to cross the line”. 

 When the mother of one of the victims responded with “A summer of incest and child porn?” he replied: “Hell yes baby.” 

He told her: “The sooner we start training her the better.” 

This was followed by a conversation about “whoring out” the child as well as giving it crack cocaine. 

Footage Ian had filmed whilst engaging in sexual intercourse with a woman was shown to the court.  “While they were having sex they were talking about him getting her pregnant so they could have a child to abuse,”  

The jury heard that this video was made in 2008 – four years before Watkins was arrested for a string of child sex offences.  

Police found “disgusting and abhorrent” online conversations between Ian and a former girlfriend, Joanna, that took place in May 2011. 

During the conversations, indecent images of children were sent by Ian to Joanna and she sent replies saying she wanted to “play for real and ruin little sluts’ lives”.  

In another exchange, Joanna told Ian: “Part of me feels you get off on showing me stuff you can get away with, knowing that is what I have wanted since forever.” She also told Ian she believed they had a “deep connection that couldn’t be matched” and signed off one message: “Child molesters till we die.” 


On 26 November 2013, Ian appeared in court on the first day of his trial.  

To the surprise of the court Ian requested that the charges be put to him again. Ian looked at his legal team as he replied to each individual charge.  

He denied two counts of raping an 11-month-old baby but admitted two counts of attempting to rape the child. He also admitted sexually assaulting a child aged under 13. 

He also admitted aiding and abetting a female co-defendant to sexually assault a child under 13. He also pleaded guilty to possessing an indecent photograph of a child between August and December 2012, a further charge of possessing four indecent photographs of children between August and December 2012, and another charge of possessing five indecent images of children between last August and September 2012. 

He also pleaded guilty to two counts of taking indecent photographs of children dating back to 2007 and 2008. 

Ian also admitted possession of indecent photographs of a child and possessing extreme pornography depicting a person engaged in a sex act with an animal. 

The two women charged alongside Ian also plead guilty to all charges against them. Both women have permanent name suppression to protect the identity of their children. The only silver lining of this change of plea was that there would no longer be a jury trial and therefore jurors would not be required to sit through hours of footage and testimony related to the offences against Ian’s victims. It had already been determined that jurors would require specific trauma counselling to deal with the events and evidence that would be presented during trial.  

Outside court, the head of the complex casework unit of the crown prosecution service in Wales, Catrin Evans, said: “The three defendants in this case have admitted very serious sexual offences committed against extremely young children, demonstrating sexual exploitation at its worst.” 

DCI Peter Doyle, of South Wales police, said: “This investigation has uncovered the most shocking and harrowing child abuse evidence I’ve ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind that Ian Watkins exploited his celebrity status in order to abuse young children. Today’s outcome does not mark the end of our investigations and we will work tirelessly to identify any other victims.” 

Prosecutor Chris Clee QC stated Ian was a “determined and committed paedophile”. He has engaged in serious sexual offences against two babies belonging to the female defendants in this case. Not only has he done so but he recorded and kept episodes of this abuse which were recovered by the police.” 

After Ian’s surprising change of plea he was remanded in custody while the Honourable Mr Justice Royce considered his sentencing. During this time investigators recorded a phone call between Ian and a friend. The transcript reads as follows: 

It was, like, either me go up there and say, ‘Come on, it wasn’t that bad, nobody got hurt’, I do my charm. Or do I end up making things worse for myself? Or do I just say I was off my head and can’t remember?” 

When discussing his possible sentence: “I’m going to put a statement on [December] 18th now just to say it was megalolz, I don’t know what everyone is getting so freaked out about.” 

The following day Ian said: “It’s so hard. There’s a lot of ****ing meaningless bull**** like chat that I did to show off when I was ****ing off my head. 

“There was no medical evidence, nobody was harmed at all. 

“I’m not a paedophile, I’m not. You know I plead (sic) guilty just to avoid a trial, not realising ‘Hang on, that makes me look a bit guilty’ but I would never harm anybody.” 

When asked if he would still issue a statement saying his conduct was “megalolz” Ian replied: “No, it’s just lolz now.” 

This gives some insight into the state of mind of this depraved paedophile. This view was shared when the following statement was issued in regard to the sentencing of Ian. I have redacted some of the most graphic details from the findings.  

Those who have appeared in these Courts at the Bar or on the Bench over many years see and hear a large number of horrific cases. This case however breaks new ground.  

Any decent person looking at and listening to the material here will experience shock; revulsion; anger and incredulity. What you three did plumbed new depths of depravity.  

You Watkins achieved fame and success as the lead singer of the Lostprophets. You had many fawning fans. That gave you power. You knew you could use that power to induce young female fans to help satisfy your apparently insatiable lust and to take part in the sexual abuse of their young children. Away from the highlights of your public performances lay a dark and sinister side.  

Count eighteen dates back to March 2007. You met one of your victims after a Lostprophets concert when she was a 16-year-old virgin. The prospect of taking her virginity excited you. You got her to dress in a schoolgirl’s outfit and you videoed her and you having oral, vaginal and anal sex. You asked her whether she enjoyed being your underage slut. At the end you urinated over her face and told her to drink it.  

That gives some insight into your attitude to young females at that time over 5 years before the counts relating to B and P. (his co-accused and mothers of Ian’s child victims). 

Count thirty-one relates to about ninety indecent photos of children. The age range of the children is from 2 to 14 years.  

Count 32 involves images and videos of extreme pornography. There are 22 images of bestiality including oral and vaginal sex with dogs.  

You spoke to the psychiatrist of your desire to shock and your craving to push sexual boundaries. This craving was fuelled by your use of cocaine and methamphetamine which increased your sexual aggression. You spoke of not knowing to what extremes you would have gone but for your arrest. It is difficult to imagine anything much worse. 
The author concludes “Mr Watkins presents a high risk of causing serious sexual, physical, emotional and psychological harm to children, both male and female, and to women, specifically his female sexual partners.”  


In relation to the two women accused alongside Ian, the prosecution stated: “Both, by their pleas, admitted they have sexually abused their own children at the behest of Ian Watkins. 

“They also made their children available to Ian Watkins to be sexually abused.” 

Justice Royce’s statement in regard to the sentencing of the women reads as follows: 

You B were only 19 when you met Watkins in late 2011. The communications between the two of you in March and April 2012 are seriously disturbing. That you were manipulated by Watkins may be obvious. But you were a mother. Your infant was only 10 months old. A mother naturally loves, protects, shields, nurtures, and cherishes. Your infant would have trusted you implicitly. You totally betrayed that trust. What did you do? You had detailed discussions with Watkins about the sexual acts to which the two of you were going to subject your infant.  

You told the police you met up with Watkins at the Copthorne Hotel in Cardiff. On 21st March Watkins says “Come down this weekend and we can fuck him up again “You text back saying “tell me if you want to get your dick in our boy”. You had previously referred to getting your boy high on ice You presented your baby to him so that he could try to rape him. First in the mouth. Then in the anus.  

You P were a little older than B. You are now 24.Your communications with Watkins start in August 2012. It is not long before the communications turn to child sex abuse. There was talk of moving in together.  

Watkins said, “if u belong to me so does ur baby”.  

You responded “understandable… a mother – daughter slave duo worshipping you”.  

Watkins said “that’s all she will know… a life of filth”  

P said “the good thing about babies is put anything near their mouths and they start sucking it”. She went on to talk about both her and her baby sharing Watkins’ penis with their tongues.  

Let there be no mistake. This plea means you accept that the two of you agreed that the little girl should be raped by Watkins and you both intended that that should take place. You Watkins initiated and orchestrated the appalling abuse but you P betrayed your daughter for your own selfish ends.  

“Given his very young age it is unclear what effect the abuse would have had on him. However this child is likely to have lifelong psychological difficulties coming to terms with the enormity of what has happened to him. Despite him being placed in long term foster care…he will eventually learn the truth of his childhood and the abuse he was subjected to. The effects of which are significant and we cannot and should not underestimate the effect this will have on him for the rest of his life.” The statement from those who are now responsible for his care is very telling in this context.  

One obvious immediate consequence is that they will be deprived of the love and care of their natural mother. 

Missed opportunities:  

As the public grappled to come to terms with the most heinous and depraved sex crimes in living memory it was revealed that police knew of potentially serious issues with Ian many years before charges were ever laid.  

In 2008 Ian was seeing on-again-off-again girlfriend Joanne Mjadzelics. The couple had met as a result of Joanne’s escort role but had become more romantic over time. Whilst she considered Ian’s sexual desires were kinky and strange it wasn’t until 2008 when Joanne realised there was something much more sinister behind his fantasies.  

Everything changed for us when he confided in me that he wanted to abuse children in 2008. 

“I went straight to South Wales Police then and made a complaint but they ignored me and said I needed evidence. 

“I warned them this man was a danger to young kids but I think they thought I was just a trouble maker. 

I couldn’t believe how indifferent the police were, it was like they were taking his side and dismissing me as some stalker. 

“I told Ian I had gone to the police and we argued but he was so cocky, he did not think the police would touch him and he was right. 

“It was then I realised I had to turn off any feelings I had for him and turn on my escort mode. 

“I had to treat him as any other client and try and get as much evidence as I could while pretending to be whatever it was he wanted me to be. 

“I was determined to save more children from this monster.” 

he said: “He targeted them deliberately because they were easy prey to him. 

“Somehow, I have no idea how, he managed to persuade them to let them offer up their own kids to be abused. 

“He sucked them in with his charm like he did all the girls but by 2012 I knew he was out of control. 

“I’m absolutely sure Ian wouldn’t have stopped at abuse. He wanted to rape and kill children. He wanted to rape newborns. 

“He even wanted to get me pregnant so he could rape our baby. How does anyone become that sick? 

“I can’t understand how, and I don’t think I ever will.” 

The revelations caused an immediate uproar and prompted police to investigate whether there had been any failings in the way they had handled Joanne’s tip-offs. The report was released in 2016 and found that at least three detectives should face disciplinary action after they failed to take action against Ian when advised about allegations of abuse against him from 2008 onwards. Joanne had approached the Police no less than four times during that period. All of her communications with the police were ignored.  

In 2017 a further report was published which doubled down on the initial findings.  

The consequence of the force’s failings was arguably that a predatory paedophile offended over an extended period of time. The evidence obtained in this investigation suggests that South Wales Police were faced with a litany of reports about his behaviour, yet in some instances did not carry out even rudimentary investigation, made errors and omissions and missed opportunities to bring him to justice earlier than he ultimately was. 

One officer quoted in the report stated Ian had “a number of fans and ex-girlfriends making allegations that when investigated are false” 

Joanna was later charged for her involvement in the text messages between herself and Ian which described graphic sex crimes against children. In her defence, Joanna argued she had gone to the police about Ian’s desires as soon as they became known to her. When police ignored her pleas to look into Ian she decided she would collect evidence and present it to police which she did on a further three occasions over the next four years. She was later acquitted of all charges against her.  


On the 18th December 2013 Ian was sentenced to 29 years in prison. The following factors were taken into consideration when determining this sentence.  

Just John Royce stated – I bear in mind a number of factors : ( 1) the facts of these offences against these babies are enormously serious ( 2 ) the offending dates back to 2007; ( 3 ) the delight that Watkins evidently has when engaging in the most terrible offences involving tiny children; ( 4 ) his need to dominate any sexual partner and his corruptive influence over young females; ( 5 ) the using of drugs in combination with sexual assaults;( 6) the interest in extreme pornography; ( 7 ) the almost complete lack of remorse; in this last respect the evidence of the phone conversations after the guilty pleas on the last occasion is enlightening. There is one further matter of concern. One of the passwords you chose, which needed the assistance of GCHQ to break was I FUK KIDZ.  

The two women aged 21 and 24, were jailed for 14 and 17 years respectively after admitting their role in the sex offences against their own children. 

In October of 2013 The Lostprophets cancelled all future tour dates and released a lengthy statement to fans confirming they were disbanding.    

We are heartbroken, angry, and disgusted at what has been revealed. This is something that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Being in a band has always been a labour of love and a platform to inspire people, not to take advantage of them. It’s still hard to believe this is happening and that someone we were once so close to has destroyed so many lives, lying every step of the way.  

Our hearts go out to Ian’s family, the fans and friends he betrayed, and most importantly, the victims of his crimes and others like them. We hope for justice, but also that Ian will truly take responsibility for what he’s done. We would urge any other victims to contact the authorities. 

Ian’s Parents: 

Ian’s parents have made the following comments in relation to Ian’s crimes:  

This is so hard. It is overwhelming. It has affected every aspect of our lives,” 

“It’s the first thing a parent asks themselves – where did we go wrong? What happened? 

“Ian was loved, cherished, encouraged and nurtured. We did our best. He was a normal happy young lad who grew up in the Valleys in a loving family which had no more problems than anybody else has.” 

“I don’t know how this will turn out. I do not know whether he will be remembered for years to come as somebody infamous and evil – like a sort of Jimmy Savile character. I hope not,”  

“I hope something will happen to change that perception of people. Time will tell. We’re going to do our best to support him and hope for the best, that’s all we can do.” 

“When the CPS spoke and the clerk read out the allegations, Elaine and I just sat there and our jaws dropped. We could not believe what we were hearing,”  

“It was devastating. We thought, ‘There must be some mistake here. There must be some reason for this. There is no way that this is true’. 

“We just left the magistrates’ court in a state of absolute despair and shock. 

“Although no family is perfect, there is nothing we can put our finger on. This has just horrified all of us.”











Early life: