British rock singer pleads guilty to baby rape attempts

LONDON (AFP) - British rock singer Ian Watkins, the former frontman of the band Lostprophets, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the attempted rape of a baby and a string of other child sex offences.

Watkins, 36, whose band sold millions of albums around the world, sexually abused the one-year-old and encouraged a fan to abuse her own child during a webcam chat.

He made a last minute change of plea before his trial started at Cardiff Crown Court in Wales, sparing the jury from seeing what the judge called "extremely graphic and distressing" video footage.

Tattooed Watkins, who wore a suit and tie in the dock, was originally charged with rape during a drug-fuelled binge at a London hotel but insisted sex with the child did not happen.

He pleaded guilty to 11 charges on Tuesday, including two of attempted baby rape and others involving possessing and making images of sexual abuse and conspiracy to rape.

Watkins is due to be sentenced in December.

Lostprophets, who formed in 1997 and had a string of gold albums in the United States and platinum albums in Britain, disbanded earlier this year after Watkins was charged.