UK
26/11/2013 07:13 GMT | Updated 26/11/2013 07:46 GMT

Ian Watkins, Lostprophets Frontman, Baby Rape Trial Begins In Cardiff Crown Court

The high-profile trial alleging that rock singer Ian Watkins is a baby-raping paedophile has begun today.

The former Lostprophets frontman will appear in court today facing a string of sex charges, including two separate counts of baby rape.

He is also charged with conspiracy to rape another child, one count of sexual assault, one of aiding and abetting sexual assault by penetration and conspiracy to sexually assault a child.

In addition he faces 17 counts of making, taking and possessing indecent images and one of possessing extreme pornographic image involving an animal.

The alleged offences date from 2007.

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The 36-year-old, who is being represented by London-based QC Sally O'Neill, denies all 24 charges against him.

Wearing a grey three-piece suit over a white shirt and dark tie and with his black and grey hair in a quiff, Watkins has been in court only briefly as proceedings have been adjourned until 12.30pm, Wales Online reported.

He appeared in Cardiff Crown Court yesterday - alongside two female co-defendants - where jury selection began.

A panel of 22 potential jurors has been picked from a pool of 72 people and will form the jury at the trial at Cardiff Crown Court in South Wales.

Judge Justice Royce began today by warning the group that their involvement in the trial would necessitate watching some "very graphic material".

The judge said jurors may be offered counselling after hearing the evidence, the BBC previously reported.

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He said: "Often members of the jury have to listen to or view evidence which is very distressing or unpleasant. This is irrespective of the guilt or innocence of the defendant."

Two women, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also face sexual offence accusations as part of the case.

The three defendants, who will be standing trial together, face a total of 32 charges.

During the hearing, potential jurors were also told the names and occupations of some 30 people due to give evidence in the trial.

The list included several police officers, forensic scientists and computer analysts.

Several key locations significant to the trial were also mentioned - such as a number of hotels in the Cardiff area.

Judge Mr Justice Royce issued a "very serious warning" to the selected group of 22 not to look up details about any of the defendants on the internet.

He said those who ignored this would face prosecution.

The trial is expected to last around three weeks.

The remaining members of Lostprophets, who have sold around 3.5 million records, announced the band was splitting up last month.

In December the members of Lostprophets spoke of their "shock" after Watkins was charged.

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Ian Watkins of Lostprophets performs at Manchester Apollo

In a statement on the band's website signed by Jamie, Lee, Luke, Mike and Stu, the band thanked fans for their support and said they were in a "state of shock."

"We are learning about the details of the investigation along with you. It is a difficult time for us and our families, and we want to thank our fans for their support as we seek answers," the message said.

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