Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Steps star Watkins wins apology

Ian 'H' Watkins has received an apology in court

Steps star Ian Watkins has received a public apology at the High Court over the mistaken use of his photograph on a celebrity news website reporting the guilty pleas of Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins to serious sexual offences.

A judge in London heard that the musician and actor, also known as Ian "H" Watkins or "H" from the band Steps, had already been "receiving abuse as a result of people confusing the two Ian Watkins" before the error over the photograph was made.

He received an apology from E! Entertainment Television, a US company which operates a television channel E! and website E! Online, covering celebrity news.

His solicitor John Reid told the judge that the defendant, E! Entertainment Television, "reported the guilty plea of Ian Watkins of the Lostprophets in an article on E! Online", adding: "However, the defendant mistakenly included a photograph of the claimant, Ian 'H' Watkins of Steps, instead of Ian Watkins of the Lostprophets."

He said: "The error quickly came to the attention of the defendant, which promptly replaced the photograph with the correct one."

Mr Reid told the judge that the defendant 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 error."

He said the defendant "also promptly emailed and telephoned the claimant's management to apologise to the claimant".

The judge heard that as well as having the same name as the Lostprophets singer, both men are of similar age and originally come from Wales.

Solicitor Timothy Pinto told the judge that, on behalf of the defendant, he confirmed everything said by Mr Reid "and apologises for the distress and damage caused by the publication of the photograph".

Yesterday former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins was jailed for 35 years at Cardiff Crown Court for a string of child sex offences.

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