Steps star Ian 'H' Watkins gets court apology for Lostprophets paedophile mix-up

The pop star's photograph was accidentally used on a story published by E! Online that detailed the guilty plea of the Welsh rock singer

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Former Steps singer Ian ‘H’ Watkins received a full apology in open court after his image was used to illustrate a story about convicted paedophile Ian Watkins from the Lostprophets.

The pop star’s photograph was accidentally used on an article published by E! Online that detailed the guilty plea of the Welsh rock singer, who admitted to string of child sex offences.

‘H’ was subsequently bombarded with abusive messages via social media, as several members of the public wrongly identified him as the Lostprophets frontman.

An apology has since been made in the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division in order to resolve the matter between the Nineties pop star and the E! Entertainment Television LLC.

“The error quickly came to the attention of the Defendant which promptly replaced the photograph with the correct one,” said 'H' Watkins' lawyer John Reid of Russells Solicitors.

“It also promptly added an Editor's Note to the article stating, 'This story was originally published with an image of Ian 'H' Watkins of the band Steps rather than Ian Watkins of the Lostprophets. E! Online deeply regrets this matter'.

“The Defendant also promptly emailed and telephoned the Claimant’s management to apologise to the Claimant.

“The Defendant is here today formally to apologise to the Claimant for the distress and damage caused by the publication of the wrong photograph.”

“On behalf of the Defendant, I confirm everything said by Mr Reid for the Claimant and apologise for the distress and damage caused by the publication of the photograph," Timothy Pinto of Taylor Wessing for E! Online said.

A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas

The singer confirmed the resolution on Twitter and Facebook, posting: ”As many of you will know, on 27 November E! Online mistakenly published a photograph of me alongside an article reporting the case of the convicted paedophile, Ian Watkins, of the band Lostprophets.

“In Court this morning E! have publicly apologised to me and a statement has been read in court to make the position clear.

“This was not something that I did lightly but it was important to me that a public statement was made so that there is no confusion going forward.

“I am really pleased that it has been resolved so quickly so that my family and I can try and move on from what has been an extremely distressing time. Thanks once again to those who have supported me xx[sic]”

No details of whether a confidential settlement for libel was made were given and 'H' Watkins himself was not present at the hearing.

Ian Watkins of Lostprophets was sentenced to 35 years in jail for a string of child sex offences, including the attempted rape of a baby.

Described as a committed and determined paedophile during his sentencing,  judge Mr Justice Royce told Watkins had used his power over fawning young fans to exploit them and persuaded two women to help satisfy what a judge called his “insatiable lust” by allowing him to abuse their young children.