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Jailed Ian Watkins ‘had concealed phone in prison’

Ian Watkins Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption There was intelligence Ian Watkins was in possession of a phone, Leeds Crown Court heard

Jailed former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins concealed a mobile phone in prison in order to contact a woman he had been in a relationship with, a court has heard.

The 42-year-old “produced a small white telephone” after a strip search in HMP Wakefield in March last year, Leeds Crown Court heard.

There was intelligence he was in possession of a phone, the jury heard.

Watkins denies one charge of possession of a mobile phone in a prison.

The court heard a prison officer at the West Yorkshire jail had conducted a search in a sterile cell but did not find anything before Watkins produced the phone.

Jurors were given the 3in-long (8cm) GT-Star phone to look at in a protective bag.

Prosecutor Stephen Wood said a small charger was later found in Watkins’ cell.

The court heard Watkins, from Pontypridd in Wales, asked the officer if he would still be allowed to see his mother, who was travelling to visit him.

Mr Wood said Watkins told police “he was being forced to hold onto the phone by other prisoners”.

“He said his life had been threatened. He told police he had been threatened with being slashed,” he said.

But Mr Wood said Watkins was not acting under duress and told jurors the phone had been used to contact Gabriella Persson who told the prison about the phone.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, Miss Persson said she had known Watkins from when she was 19 and had been in a relationship with him but stopped contacting him in 2012.

Miss Persson said she began communicating with Watkins again in 2016 through letters, phone calls and via legitimate prison emails.

She told jurors she received a text in March last year from a number she did not recognise and then spoke to Watkins using the phone number to make sure it was him.

Miss Persson confirmed she was aware he had been jailed for sexual offences.

The trial continues.

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