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
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

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?