Belfast Telegraph

Man jailed over false Walsh claims

An unemployed dance teacher who falsely accused X Factor judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub has been jailed for six months after losing an appeal against his sentence.

A judge ruled the lies by Leonard Watters that the pop music mogul sexually assaulted him in a Dublin nightspot were so serious that she increased the jail term to 11 months, suspending the last five.

Judge Katherine Delahunt warned that the 25-year-old must co-operate with the probation services and enter an alcohol rehabilitation programme on release or face going back behind bars.

"Alcohol and its abuse will never be accepted as an excuse for the commission of a crime," she said.

"It could possibly be seen to go some way towards an explanation for events of the night in Krystle, but you publicly continued with the charade for two months until you were confronted by irrefutable evidence that you were lying."

Watters, who wore a black suit and white shirt, showed no emotion as he was taken away by prison guards from the Circuit Court in Dublin.

The father of two falsely accused Walsh of sexually assaulting him in the toilet of the celebrity nightclub, Krystle, after a Westlife concert in April 2011. Two months later he made two official reports to gardai and went to The Irish Sun newspaper, which printed the story before Walsh was questioned under caution.

Within days Watters was shown CCTV footage from the club that disputed his claims and he admitted he had made up the allegation. He was arrested at his home in Navan, Co Meath, and charged before publicly apologising to Walsh for the unfounded claims.

In January he was sentenced to six months, which was put on hold pending an appeal.

Meanwhile Walsh is suing Newsgroup Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, for defamation over an article it published on June 23 last year. The paper has accepted the accusation was false but denies defamation, saying that it acted fairly.

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