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British singer sentenced to 35 years for child abuse

LONDON (Reuters) - The lead singer of British rock group Lostprophets was sentenced on Wednesday to 35 years for child sex offenses, and police said they were liaising with officers in the United States and Germany to establish whether he committed sex crimes there.

Ian Watkins, 36, pleaded guilty to 13 counts relating to child abuse at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales last month.

Two mothers of children he abused, who admitted child abuse charges, were sentenced to 14 and 17 years.

Before sentencing Watkins, Judge John Royce told him: "You are a deeply corrupting influence, you are highly manipulative, you are a sexual predator."

"The public and in particular young females and children need protection from you," Royce said.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, senior investigating officer for South Wales Police, said the investigation into Watkins "uncovered the most disturbing child abuse evidence I have seen in my 28 years as a police officer".

Police believe they have not tracked down all of Watkins' victims and are conducting further investigations, with help from forces across Britain, international police organization Interpol and the U.S. Department for Homeland Security.

British detectives have already traveled to the United States and to Germany, where Lostprophets toured on several occasions.

The Welsh group, which has sold more than 3 million records worldwide, broke up in October after Watkins was charged.

His former bandmates have said they are "heartbroken, angry and disgusted" at revelations that Watkins had abused children.

Watkins admitted two attempted rapes, sexually assaulting a child under 13, aiding and abetting the sexual assault of a child under 13, conspiring to rape a child under 13 and conspiring to sexually assault another child under 13, a spokeswoman for the Cardiff court said.

He also pleaded guilty to six counts of taking and possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing extreme pornographic images, the spokeswoman said.

The two women sentenced on Wednesday sexually abused their children when asked by Watkins and were prepared to make their children available to him for sex, the court heard.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Alison Williams)

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