Ian Watkins’ former Lostprophets bandmates have given their reasons as to why they believe the frontman sexually abused children.
"A guy who'd been in prison with Ian did an interview when he came out, and said that he [Watkins] had said: 'How could I be attracted to children? Because they don't have features.' I think he was just attracted to what was bad, and to being in control,” said the band’s former guitarist Lee Gaze.
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.
The band – who have now created a new group called No Devotion – had no idea of Watkins’ crimes. His behaviour had been on a downward spiral for the past four years, after he started to use cocaine and later became addicted to crystal meth. The group intervened several times.
"We were expecting a call telling us he'd died every day for the last 18 months of the band," bassist Stuart Richardson told the Guardian. "But by the last tour it actually seemed like he was getting better. And then this happens."
Watkins told his bandmates he was innocent of all charges. They found out about the singer’s crimes 24 hours before he was charged.
An inquiry is currently being held into whether the celebrity status of Watkins may have prevented him from being brought to justice sooner.
"You wouldn't expect a handsome rock star in his 30s to be a paedophile," said Gaze. "Ian was incredibly charming and manipulative – he could win anybody over. It was a powerful tool of his. We knew he had a different woman in every city, but with paedophiles, you don't assume them having relationships with adult women."
Each member of the band has children, except for Watkins. Richardson’s young daughter knew Watkin as ‘Uncle Ian’.
"I can't believe the things Ian's capable of," said Richardson. "Up until the final second he said he was innocent. He destroyed his family's life, giving them a glimpse of hope every time he said he was innocent. His mum thought he was innocent. What a f**king c**t."
The band doesn’t listen to any of the Lostprophets music anymore and describe the end of the group as "horrible torture".
However, Gaze and Richardson make it clear that they are the least of casualties.
"There are bigger victims in this whole thing; there are families trying to deal with this right now,” said Richardson.