Ex-Lostprophets frontman and sex offender Ian Watkins awaits fate over phone possession charge in Yorkshire jail
Jurors in the trial of jailed former Lostprophets frontman and convicted sex offender Ian Watkins have started their deliberations.
The 42-year-old is accused of being in possession of a mobile phone whilst serving a prison sentence at HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire.
Watkins denies the charge, saying that two inmates forced him to hold on to it so that they could contact women who have sent him fan mail in order to use them as a "revenue stream."
In his evidence, the defendant, who jurors have been told is serving a sentence for sex offences, refused to name the men, but described them as "murderers and handy", adding: "You would not want to mess with them."
He also said that those who he is currently locked up with are "murderers, mass murderers, rapists, paedophiles, serial killers - the worst of the worst."
Following four days of evidence and speeches at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Rodney Jameson QC sent the jury out to start their deliberations on Thursday afternoon, before sending them home for the evening to return on Friday morning.
The judge told jurors: "Much of what you have heard has been with regard to the question of duress, and whether Mr Watkins had been under threat.
"That will be one of the questions that you have to answer in your deliberations."
He praised the jury for its work during the trial, and emphasised it would not be under any pressure to return with a verdict quickly.
During the trial, Stephen Wood, prosecuting, told the court that Watkins had produced the phone, a small GT-Star, after police received intelligence that he had it.
Mr Wood said that the mobile had been used to contact a woman named Gabriella Persson, who jurors were told had been in a relationship with Watkins but stopped contacting him in 2012.
The prosecutor said that she resumed talking to him in 2016 through letters, phone calls and via legitimate prison emails.
Miss Persson told jurors how she received a text in March 2018 from a number she did not recognise which just said: "Hi Gabriella-ella,-ella-eh-eh-eh."
She said that the message, a reference to the hit Rihanna song Umbrella, made her think that Watkins was contacting her, but she then phoned the number to confirm it was.
Mr Wood said that it was she who reported the defendant's use of the phone, and that the prosecution reject the contention that Watkins had been forced to keep and use it in March 2018.
Jury deliberations will resume at 10.30am today.