Belfast Telegraph

Walsh false 'sex claim' man jailed

Louis Walsh is said to be "pleased and relieved" after a man who falsely accused him of sexual assault was sentenced to six months jail, his spokeswoman said.

Unemployed dance teacher Leonard Watters pleaded guilty to making two false reports to Irish police that the pop music mogul and X Factor judge groped him in Dublin nightspot Krystle last April.

Described as a Walter Mitty-type at the city's District Court, the 24-year-old father-of-two from Navan, Co Meath, was granted bail to appeal the sentence.

His solicitor, Cahir O'Higgins, said Watters was a tragic figure whose life had been a litany of disasters from an early age.

The defendant was now a laughing stock, and had been outcast as a pariah in his own community, he told the court. "For ever and a day, he will be known as the guy who accused Louis Walsh in the wrong," he said.

The only person accompanying Watters to court was charity shop organiser Anne Buchanan, who gave brief evidence that he helps her every day in the shop and attends evening prayer meetings.

Mr O'Higgins said Watters was not malicious, but a human being in pain who had a history of self-harm. "If ever there was a cry for help, this is it," he said.

But he added that the incident has acted as a turning point - Watters had abandoned drinking, was trying to claw back his credibility and would do everything he could for a second chance.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said that, while he may have sympathy with Watters, the public had to be protected against false allegations. Despite pleas for leniency, the judge refused to suspend the six-month sentence.

A spokeswoman for Mr Walsh said: "Louis is both pleased and relieved with the verdict."

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