Louis Walsh's false accuser has jail sentence upheld


AN UNEMPLOYED dance teacher was jailed yesterday for concocting a story that he was sexually assaulted by X Factor judge Louis Walsh.

Leonard Watters (25), a father of two from Woodview, Navan, Co Meath, was given an 11-month term, with five months suspended, at Dublin Circuit Court.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Katherine Delahunt after Watters had unsuccessfully appealed against the severity of a six-month jail term he was given in January at Dublin District Court for making false reports to gardaí that Louis Walsh had groped him in the toilets of a nightclub.

After the case concluded, defence solicitor Cahir O’Higgins told reporters that Watters hoped to “learn from his experience and grow from it, and get on with his life and use his time wisely”.

Mr O’Higgins also said Watters was sorry and would accept help from the Probation and Welfare Service.

Watters had pleaded guilty to making up unfounded claims that Mr Walsh groped him in the toilets of Krystle nightclub in Dublin in April 2011. He admitted in court that he made false reports to gardaí at Harcourt Terrace Garda station on June 20th, 2011, and at his home on June 28th last year.

In pleas for leniency, Mr O’Higgins said Watters had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of receiving severe burns in an accident when he was a child. He had developed a chronic alcohol problem, engaged in episodes of self-harm and had attempted suicide.

Mr O’Higgins said Watters’s actions had been a “cry for help” and he had now become regarded as a Walter Mitty-type person, a pariah and “a figure of ridicule”.

Judge Delahunt said probation, psychological and psychiatric reports on Watters showed an “abject failure” to address his offending.

She said he had tried to blame his childhood accident, alcoholism and upbringing for his crime.

Alcohol could not be used as an excuse, she said, adding that after the initial incident he continued with his “charade” until he was confronted by gardaí with irrefutable evidence which contradicted his claims.

She said he misled a psychologist and was “still lying about the events”. A report by a probation officer found him to be at the “upper moderate range” of reoffending unless he addressed his issues.

The judge also noted that Watters had prior criminal convictions.

She suspended the final five months of the term on condition that he is supervised by his probation officer for the same period and deals with his alcoholism. She said the suspended portion of the sentence could be activated if he did not get rehabilitation for his drink problem or if he reoffended.