Watkins, who was not at the hearing, was represented by Queen's Counsel (similar to a public defender) Sally O'Neil. O'Neil argued that because Watkins pled guilty to his charges thus preventing disturbing images being shown in court, he was entitled to a reduction. The judges disagreed with one judge stating that the crimes were "of such shocking depravity that they demanded a lengthy prison sentence."
Additionally, a woman who was jailed along with Watkins for aiding Watkins in his crimes, and who also was a mother of one of the victims, also had her appeal denied. That person, who is being kept anonymous under UK law because her child was a victim, was sentenced to 17 years in prison. She appealed under the grounds that she was immature when she committed her offenses, but was denied. A second woman, also involved in Watkins' crimes, did not appeal her 14 year sentence.