UPDATE – Watkins has pleaded guilty to 14 sex offences including two of attempting to rape a baby

Credit Elizabeth Cook/ Irishmirror.ie

Credit Elizabeth Cook/ irishmirror.ie

Updated at 15.16

Lostprophets lead singer Ian Watkins has pleaded guilty to 14 out of the 24 charges against him.

According to British media, two of the 14 charges include the attempt to rape a baby.

The trial was due to start at 10.00am this morning, but was adjourned twice to allow discussions between the judge and the legal teams.

Other charges he pleaded guilty to include sexual assault of a child under 13, possession and the taking of pornographic images of children between August and December of last year, and aiding and abetting one of his female co-defendants to sexually assault a child under 13.

He also admitted the possession of an extreme pornographic image of a person engaged in a sexual act with an animal.

Wales Online correspondent, Ciaran Jones, reported that Watkins stared at his feet as he admitted his guilt, his voice faltering as he spoke.

His female co-defendants, who remain anonymous, have pleaded guilty to similar charges, including sexual assault of a child under 13 by penetration.

Watkins maintains his innocence of the rape of an 11-month-old baby. He is set to be sentenced on 18 December.

Lauren O’Halleron

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Trial begins for singer charged with rape of baby

ian watkins

Credit Lostprophets official Facebook page

Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins (36), who has been charged with the rape of a baby and conspiracy to rape another young child, goes to trial today.

According to British media reports, Judge Justice Royce has warned jurors that they will be subjected to “very graphic material” throughout the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.

Watkins has denied the 24 sex offences against him, including possession of child pornography, sexual assault and conspiracy to sexually assault a young child.

Two female defendants, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are also on-trial with Watkins. All three face 32 charges in total.

In August of this year, Watkins was placed on suicide watch and recommended to be moved from prison to a psychiatric facility by a clinical psychologist.

Last month, Lostprophets announced on their Facebook page that they were separating after 15 years of making music together: “After nearly a year of coming to terms with our heartache, we finally feel ready to announce publicly what we have thought privately for some time. We can no longer continue making or performing music as Lostprophets”.

The trial is set to conclude on December 20 when the courts close for the Christmas holidays. Should it continue into 2014, it will reconvene when the courts reopen on January 6.

Lauren O’Halleron

 

Man with ‘severe learning difficulties’ will serve seven years for sexual assault

CriminalCourtofJusticeDublin

Credit Courts.ie

A man (20) with severe learning difficulties was sentenced to 7 and half years with 2 years suspended by Justice Barry White earlier this afternoon.

He pleaded guilty during an earlier hearing to sexually assaulting Michelle Hennessy, aged 26, which was later upgraded to ‘aggravated sexual assault’ under section 3 of the Criminal Law (RAPE) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1990.

The attack occurred on the 29th of January 2011. Sean Thackaberry, with an address in Kildare, was escorting the victim home from a night out. Mr Justice Barry White said that the length of the sentence had been dictated by the fact that Thackaberry was ‘in a position of trust to escort her home’.

The court heard that the defendant had attacked the woman 250 metres from her home by pushing her over a wall before sexually assaulting her.

Gardaí on the scene were alerted when they heard the woman screaming. ‘She was hysterical,’ said Sargent Anne Thompson.  Evidence was given describing the woman’s injuries which she suffered while ‘physically resisting the attack’. Her injuries included extensive bruising to her body. The attack lasted 20 minutes.

Thackaberry was apprehended on the scene and was later held by Gardaí after the victim’s DNA, as well as his own, was found on the inside of his boxer shorts. Thackaberry gave the sample voluntarily. He was accompanied by his mother during questioning due to his severe learning disabilities.

Justice Barry White said that the 2 years suspended on his sentence were given as a result of his compliance with Gardaí.

During the victim impact statement Sharron Hennessy, sister to the victim, described her as an ‘outgoing, bubbly person’. She said Michelle was ‘afraid to walk out of the house’ following the incident and stopped her from engaging in her passion for skydiving.

Quoting her sister, Sharron Hennessy said: ‘I feel safer in the air than on the ground’

Thackaberry was said to have severe learning difficulties with a literacy level equivalent to that of a ‘six year old’. He had been abusing alcohol and cannabis and had ‘attempted suicide several times after the death of his grandparents’.

He had become known to Gardaí after he began ‘hanging around the area at night’.

Thackabbery remained silent for the duration of the sentencing, only responding ‘ye’ when asked if he understood his sentence.

Michelle Hennessy was unable to give evidence as she has since deceased. Her death was not noted as having a connection to the attack.

Eoghan Regan