Rise and fall of Ian Watkins - Disgraced Lostprophets singer jailed for horrific sex crimes

The convicted paedophile was reportedly stabbed by prison inmates, 10 years after he was jailed

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Sunday 06 August 2023 15:45 BST
Police 'missed chances' to catch paedophile rock star Ian Watkins

Disgraced rock star Ian Watkins has been stabbed at HMP Wakefield, according to reports.

The convicted paedophile and former Lostprophets frontman is said to have been taken to hospital after being attacked at the prison in West Yorkshire.

A source told the Mirror he had been taken hostage by three other inmates on the morning of Saturday 5 August.

Watkins, once the singer in a popular alternative rock band that sold millions of albums around the world, is now 10 years into his 29 year jail sentence.

Below we look at his rise to fame in the music world and the appalling crimes that put him behind bars.

Rise to fame in rock band

Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, Watkins attended Hawthorn High School with his future bandmate Mike Lewis.

Their group, alternative rock band Lostprophets, made their debut in 1997 with Watkins as the lead vocalist and would go on to release five albums between 2000 and 2010.

Selling millions of albums worldwide, the band had two top 10 singles in the UK and a number one in the US alternative chart, alongside winning multiple music awards. They released their fifth and what would turn out to be their last album, Weapons, in April 2012.

Ian Watkins performing on the main stage at the Reading Festival

Criminal investigation

Watkin’s ex-girlfriend, Joanne Mjadzelics, first reported him to the authorities in December 2008 and was interviewed in March 2009. She told officers she had a message on her mobile phone from Watkins about his desire to sexually abuse children.

However, it later emerged that the phone was not examined “on the basis that her report was malicious”.

In 2017, four years after he was jailed, the police watchdog revealed he could have been caught and brought to justice nearly four years earlier if detectives had properly investigated reports from a series of informants.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said: “It [the phone] would have been found to hold a message Ian Watkins sent to Ms Mjadzelics on August 12 2007, which read: ‘WISHLIST RAPE A 12 YR OLD F*** TWO UNDERAGE TWINS’.

“The message corroborated Ms Mjadzelics’s allegations that Watkins had expressed ‘desires to abuse children’.”

Watkins, initially denied all charges against him after he was eventually arrested in December 2012, but confessed to a number of crimes when the case came to court 12 months later.

Watkins was arrested in 2012 and convicted a year later

Conviction and sentence

Watkins originally faced 24 separate charges - all sex offence related. On 26 November, 2013 he pleaded guilty to 11 – including the attempted rape of a fan’s baby.

The then 36-year-old made a series of admissions in a last-minute change of plea ahead of what would have been his trial at Cardiff Crown Court. The charges included sexually touching a one-year-old and encouraging a fan to abuse her own child during a webcam chat.

Police also found a stash of child abuse videos - some of which he had made himself.

Watkins was jailed for 29 years in December 2013 with a further six years on licence. While awaiting sentencing, he was recorded by prison officials saying the whole thing was “megalolz” during a telephone call to a friend.

In 2014, he appealed against the sentence arguing it was “too high” but was refused.

The former Lostprophets frontman is serving a 29 year sentence


A report by the IPCC watchdog found a number of missed opportunities in the investigation into Watkins. They included:

  • An alleged victim and her parents were not visited by officers following Ms Mjadzelics’s complaint in 2008
  • Crimestoppers reports from 2010, and reports from two witnesses in that year and in 2012, “do not appear to have been progressed”, despite corroborating Ms Mjadzelics’s account
  • No actions were taken on Ms Mjadzelics’s email complaint to the ACPO inbox in 2011 that her reports had not been properly investigated.

Life behind bars

In 2019, Watkins faced a further trial, accused of having a mobile phone in prison.

Watkins, who is serving a long sentence for sexual offences, produced the 8cm long GT-Star in March 2018 after a strip search at HMP Wakefield, the court heard.

During the hearing he claimed his “life had been threatened” and the court heard he had told police he was being forced to conceal the device by fellow inmates.

On Saturday 5 August 2023, it was reported that Watkins has been stabbed at HMP Wakefield and was in a “life threatening condition”, according to the Mirror. Police are investigating.

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