Man admits Walsh sex assault claim is ‘bogus’

A MAN described as a “Walter Mitty type” has apologised in court after admitting he concocting bogus allegations that he was sexually assaulted by X Factor judge Louis Walsh.

Father-of-two, Leonard Watters, aged 24, from Navan, Co Meath, will be sentenced in January for making up unfounded claims that the pop guru sexually assaulted him in the toilets of the Krystle nightclub in Dublin in April.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court yesterday to two charges of making false reports to gardaí at Harcourt Terrace Garda station on June 20 and at his home on June 28.

Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told Judge Dermot Dempsey that, on April 9, Watters had been socialising in Dublin and met Louis Walsh in a bar.

“He travelled with them to Krystle nightclub on Harcourt Street,” said Det Insp Cryan.

At about 4.30am, Watters approached a garda on Harcourt Street and “alleged he had been sexually assaulted by Mr Walsh”.

Watters then went to the Mater Hospital. Two gardaí spoke to him there, where he “made the same allegation”. He later repeated the claims to two more officers and when Det Insp Cryan met him on June 14, he “made the same allegations”.

On June 20, he made his first formal statement to gardaí, in which he “made the allegation that he was sexually assaulted”.

Watters went with Det Insp Cryan to Krystle nightclub and “pointed out toilets where he alleged it happened”.

Four days later, Det Insp Cryan met Louis Walsh and “the allegations were put to him, and he denied it”,

On June 27, Det Insp Cryan met Watters at his home in Navan, where “CCTV footage from the nightclub was shown to him and he made an additional statement clarifying matters”.

“It became clear from CCTV it did not support his allegations,” Det Insp Cryan said, adding Watters then “admitted that the allegation was false”.

Later, during a series of interviews at Pearse Street Garda station, Watters admitted Walsh did not assault him.

He claimed he had been assaulted in the toilets at Krystle nightclub but admitted “Louis Walsh did not do that”.

Det Insp Cryan said the accused had been “quite convincing” and Watters had been “convinced of the allegations himself”. Det Insp Cryan said “yes, possibly” when Mr O’Higgins suggested that this reflected the “fragility” of Watters’ mind.

Judge Dempsey heard Watters, who is in receipt of €188 from a disability payment, had two sets of criminal convictions, for breaching a barring order and for driving without a licence or insurance. He described Watters’ offences as “very serious”,

“I am considering a custodial sentence given the gravity of matters,” the judge said. However, he adjourned sentencing until a date in January for a probation report to be obtained.

Judge Dempsey said the pre-sentence report could explore Watters’ suitability for a community service sanction.

“I do not think it is appropriate in the circumstances. We will see what the Probation Service have to say in relation to that,” the judge added as he adjourned the case.

Watters was released pending his sentence hearing. His bail terms state he must stay away from the Krystle nightclub and have no contact of any form with Louis Walsh or members of the Westlife band.

‘Walter Mitty type suffered a ferocious mauling by media’

LEONARD Watters came from a respectable family who have become traumatised by his actions and had to endure “a lot of media attention”, Dublin District Court heard yesterday.

Watters’ solicitor, Cahir O’Higgins, said his client has been “rendered something of a pariah in his community”, is now seen “as a Walter Mitty type” and is characterised as a “fantasist or a liar”. He has been rendered jobless as a result of the false claims.

In pleas for leniency, the defence asked the court to note that Watters wanted to apologise.

He had “consumed a lot of alcohol” when he first approached gardaí with his claims, the court heard.

Watters was “willing to do anything he can to put this to right” for jeopardising Louis Walsh’s reputation, Mr O’Higgins said.

The defence submitted Watters has been subject to a “ferocious mauling” by the media. As a result, it was claimed, he engaged in self-harm, including an incident in which he threw himself into a river and was found in a “very disorientated and disconsolate state”.

Watters has “consistently said that something has happened to him, but it was nothing to do with Louis Walsh”. A medical examination showed he had “some bruising in the pelvic area”.

The court heard that, at the age of 13, Watters suffered serious burns in an accident, which left him scarred and “played havoc” with his schooling.

Watters received a large settlement as a result of the accident but “worked his way through it in a staggeringly quick period of time”.

Mr O’Higgins described Watters as “fragile and vulnerable and from a psychological point of view, a little bit shaky”.

Watters took the stand during the hearing and was told by the judge to speak into the microphone in the witness box so people could hear him.

Dressed in a dark suit, he said: “I would like to apologise to Mr Louis Walsh for all the stuff I put him through and the allegations were false.”

Picture: Leonard Watters, left, with solicitor Cahir O’Higgins outside Dublin District Court. Picture: Collins

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