The awful case of Ian Watkins, the lead singer of Lostprophets who pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to rape a baby and other offences this week, obviously triggered a lot of conversations on Twitter. Not only were his crimes extremely serious and upsetting, but many users remember Watkins as the singer of a band they grew up liking.
Unfortunately Peaches Geldof, daughter of Live Aid founder Bob, took it upon herself to tweet the names of two mothers involved in the case along with Watkins. This despite the fact that their identities and those of their children had been kept out of the public domain.
As the picture above shows, tweeting the names is an offence as it means the victims could be identified. Geldof has since apologised for the misguided tweets to her 161,000 followers and deleted them, although the Daily Mail took a screenshot and blacked out the names, as shown below. She said she believed that the names were in the public domain already, as she had found them on a US based site.
Former colleagues and friends of Watkins also responded on social media to his guilty plea. Former Lostprophets guitarist Lee Gaze retweeted the news that Watkins had pleaded guilty, and in a now deleted tweet welcomed the decision. Former tour manager George Davison wrote an extensive blogpost on Facebook, where he expressed disbelief that someone he worked and lived with so closely could behave in such a manner.
The law is having to attempt to negotiate the social media age, and we all need to learn to respect the process of law and the rules that protect victims of serious crime.