Lostprophets announce split following Ian Watkins sex offence allegations

Pontypridd band end 15-year career as lead singer prepares to stand trial for alleged offences including raping a baby

Lostprophets have announced their split, ending a 15-year career as their lead singer prepares to stand trial for alleged multiple sex offences.

In a long-anticipated statement, Jamie Oliver, Lee Gaze, Luke Johnson, Mike Lewis and Stu Richardson explained that in light of the charges against frontman Ian Watkins, they do not intend to move forward with the band.

"We can no longer continue making or performing music as Lostprophets," they wrote on the group's official Facebook page. "After nearly a year of coming to terms with our heartache, we finally feel ready to announce publicly what we have thought privately for some time … We look forward to the next phase of our lives [and] we can only hope to be surrounded by people as devoted and inspiring as you guys have been."

Together with Gaze, Lewis and departed drummer Mike Chiplin, Watkins co-founded Lostprophets in 1997. The Pontypridd band released five LPs and sold more than 3.5m albums, taking home six Kerrang awards. Their most recent record, Weapons, was released in April 2012; it topped the UK's rock billboard and reached No 9 on the overall albums chart.

Everything changed for the band last December, when Watkins was arrested and charged in connection with allegations of child sex abuse. The 35-year-old has "furiously denied" all 24 charges, which include two counts of raping a baby, one of conspiracy to rape a child and one of conspiracy to sexually assault a child. Two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, have also been accused; one of these women has submitted three guilty pleas. Proceedings will begin at Cardiff crown court on 25 November.

The band's fans responded to Tuesday's announcement with a mixture of sadness and resignation. "A shame it ended like this but thank you, your music was part of the soundtrack of a lot of our teenage years," wrote one fan. "A dark cloud was cast over the band which you could never shine through," admitted another. "If you decide to reform with a new frontman and a new name I'm sure your fans would support and love you as much as they supported and loved Lostprophets before."

The other members of Lostprophets have yet to announce their musical plans.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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