Ian Watkins: Ex-girlfriend and former Lostprophets bandmates break silence on jailed singer after child sex abuse conviction

Guitarists Mike Lewis and Lee Gaze and ex-girlfriend Karen Ruttner discuss their shock and heartbreak at discovering the revelations

Two former members of Lostprophets, guitarists Mike Lewis and Lee Gaze, have described how they were “shocked beyond comprehension” when they found out that frontman Ian Watkins was facing allegations of child abuse.

Lewis – who has a young daughter - had known the singer since he was five, while father-of-two Gaze met him as a 15-year-old.

Neither Gaze nor Lewis want any further communication with their former friend and bandmate.

“I’ve thought about it long and hard and, no, I have no interest in ever speaking to him again,” Lewis told the Sunday Times.

“I feel incredibly bad for his mother and his whole family and the stigma they have to endure now because of what he’s done and what his actions have done to hurt many people.

“But I have no interest in questioning him about it. Never.”

“I don’t think I’d get the answers I wanted,” said Gaze.

“And I don’t know what knowing answers to certain questions would give me now either.” 

 

Watkins was sentenced to 35 years in prison in December 2013, following a series of serious sex offences involving children. The 36-year-old admitted to the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13, but pleaded not guilty to rape.

He also confessed to conspiring to rape a child, three counts of sexual assault involving children, seven involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal.

“I tried reading the judge’s report. I couldn’t even finish it,” said Lewis.  “To think that somebody I grew up with, who I had been friends with my entire life, whose mother I knew, and how close our families were — to even imagine him… I find it utterly unbelievable that he was capable of doing those things. Obviously he did, but how somebody can…

 “I don’t understand it, I’m afraid.”

Although the band knew that Watkins was struggling with drug addiction, Gaze said that there was “was absolutely nothing that led us to suspect what he’d done”.

“He was always surrounded by all these women, so it just seemed impossible,” he said.

Lostprophets musicians Luke Johnson, Ian Watkins, Jamie Oliver, Mike Lewis, Stuart Richardson and Lee Gaze in 2010 At first, Watkins denied the allegations to his bandmates.

“[Ian] spent the longest time trying to convince us that somebody was trying to get revenge on him,” recalled Gaze.

“He’d created such a web of people, bouncing these women off each other, that it was perfectly feasible that one of these women hated him so much that she wanted to catch him out.”

Karen Ruttner - who dated Watkins for years, before becoming a part of the Lostprophets management team after their relationship ended – “cried every day for three months” following his guilty plea. She has been undergoing therapy to help her deal with what's happened.

“This person that I had been so close with at that point, for six years, was… capable of this? I thought I knew when he was lying,” she said. “I thought I knew what his demons were. This was not on the list of presumed demons.”

An inquiry is currently being held into whether the celebrity status of Watkins may have prevented him from being brought to justice sooner.

Read more: Ian Watkins sentenced to 39 years in prison
Ian Watkins' family want to '"knock him around a cell"
Inquiry launched over Ian Watkins sexual assault case
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk