Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Lostprophets singer trial date set

Ian Watkins faces trial in the summer

Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins will stand trial later this summer accused of conspiracy to rape a baby.

A handful of female fans gathered at Cardiff Crown Court, South Wales, as the band's lead singer appeared at a hearing via videolink.

All charges were expected to be formally put to Watkins during a plea hearing at the court today.

A series of technical difficulties prevented the hearing proceeding and matters were adjourned until a date to be fixed at the end of May. But the defence for Watkins, 35, of Pontypridd, has previously said in court that he denies all charges and will contest them at trial.

Watkins, whose band has sold more than 3.5 million albums worldwide, allegedly conspired with another woman to rape a one-year-old girl. He is also accused of two counts of conspiring to engage in sexual touching with two young children.

He is also charged with possessing, making and distributing indecent images of children and possessing extreme animal pornography. The alleged offences date from May to December 2012.

Two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, are charged alongside Watkins. One, aged 24, is accused of the same six offences as Watkins, while the second woman, aged 20, is accused of the same offences except conspiracy to rape.

One of the two women appeared in person at court today, while the other, who is in custody, appeared with Watkins via videolink.

Judge Eleri Rees, the recorder of Cardiff, set the eventual trial date for the week beginning June 15 during today's hearing. She was told that up to three weeks would be needed.

The case was adjourned until a new hearing at the same venue some time at the end of May. Watkins remains remanded in custody.

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