Six-month sentence for Walsh accuser

X Factor judge Louis Walsh is pleased and relieved after a man who falsely accused him of sexual assault was sentenced to six months in jail, his spokeswoman said.

Leonard Watters, an unemployed dance teacher, pleaded guilty to making two false reports to gardaí that the pop music mogul groped him in Dublin nightspot Krystle, last April.

Described as a Walter Mitty-type at the city’s district court, the 24-year-old father of two from Navan, Co Meath, was granted bail to appeal the sentence.

His solicitor, Cahir O’Higgins, said Watters was a tragic figure whose life had been a litany of disasters from an early age.

The defendant was now a laughing stock and had been outcast as a pariah in his own community, he told the court. “For ever and a day, he will be known as the guy who accused Louis Walsh in the wrong.”

Mr O’Higgins said Watters suffered 80% burns to his body in a serious accident at the age of 11, for which he had to undergo 37 medical procedures.

That process was not yet over, he said.

Depicting him as a “Baron Münchausen” who gets carried away with himself, he said Watters received €800,000 compensation for his accident when he reached the age of 18.

He spent it within months, falling into bad company, buying cars, at one stage drinking two bottles of Southern Comfort a day, before returning to his parents penniless, the court heard.

Mr O’Higgins said Watters was not malicious, but a human being in pain who had a history of self-harm.

He said the incident has acted as a turning point — Watters had abandoned drinking, was trying to claw back his credibility and would do everything he could for a second chance.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said that, while he may have sympathy with Watters, the public had to be protected against false allegations.

Mr Walsh had been put through a lot of pain and anguish, he added.

Despite pleas for leniency, the judge refused to suspend the six-month sentence.

A spokeswoman for Mr Walsh said: “Louis is both pleased and relieved with the verdict.”

Detective Inspector Michael Cryan told the court Watters claimed the assault happened on Saturday, April 9, after a Westlife concert in Dublin.

Watters and Mr Walsh met in a pub and travelled to Krystle together, he said.

Later, at about 4.50am, Watters approached a garda on patrol outside the club, alleging that he had been sexually assaulted by the pop impresario.

The defendant was taken to Mountjoy Garda Station where he repeated the allegation, before being examined in a sexual assault unit — which revealed bruising in his genital area.

He made his first formal statement on June 20.

Within days Mr Walsh was interviewed under caution and vehemently denied the allegation.

Watters made a second false statement on June 27 but, after being shown CCTV footage which did not support his claims, he admitted making it up. He was arrested the next day.

He continued to claim he was sexually assaulted in the toilets but not by Mr Walsh.

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