Fake Walsh claims man loses appeal

An unemployed dance teacher who falsely accused X Factor judge Louis Walsh of groping him in a nightclub has lost an appeal against his six-month prison sentence.

Leonard Watters pleaded guilty to making two false reports to gardai that the pop music mogul sexually assaulted him in Dublin nightspot Krystle in April 2011.

Judge Katherine Delahunt told the 25-year-old she was increasing his sentence to 11 months, but suspended the last five on condition he co-operates with probation services and enters an alcohol rehabilitation programme.

Watters showed no emotion as he was taken away by prison guards from the Circuit Court in Dublin. Watters falsely accused Walsh of sexually assaulting him in the toilet of the celebrity nightclub, Krystle, after a Westlife concert.

Two months later he made two official reports to gardai and went to The Irish Sun newspaper with his story. But within days Watters was shown CCTV footage from the club that disputed his claims and he admitted he had made up the allegation.

He was arrested at his home in Navan, Co Meath, and charged before publicly apologising to Walsh for the unfounded claims.

The judge told Watters that while his alcohol addiction may explain his false claims on the night, it could not account for the charade he kept up for the next two months until he was confronted with evidence.

Judge Delahunt said Watters had been portrayed in court as a Walter Mitty-type character who became a pariah in his own community after he admitted lying about being sexually assaulted by the pop impresario.

The allegation was a cry for help as he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress since he was badly burned in a "horrific" accident when he was 11 years old, she was told. But the judge said that, despite his attempts to change his ways - by joining AA and attending a local church group - he still had several issues to deal with.

Watters, a father of two, blew the 800,000 euro in compensation, awarded for the burns he suffered when a friend threw a flammable liquid on a fire, soon after he received it at the age of 18. The early school leaver had to undergo 37 different medical procedures, with more surgery planned, and had since attempted suicide.