Exclusive: How South Yorkshire Police missed multiple chances to stop Lostprophets paedophile Ian Watkins

South Yorkshire Police officers ignored repeated warnings from the ex-girlfriend of rock star Ian Watkins that he was a dangerous paedophile - and put a child at risk of being abused for months.

Friday, 18th August 2017, 4:51 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:14 pm
Ian Watkins

The Yorkshire Post says: Lostprophets paedophile case - why police must be transparentDraft Independent Police Complaints Commission findings seen by The Yorkshire Post shows officers in Doncaster failed to take seriously complaints made over three months by Joanne Mjadzelics about the Lostprophets singer, who is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for sex offences including the attempted rape of a fan’s baby.

The draft IPCC press release, sent in error to The Yorkshire Post by South Yorkshire Police, was due to officially be made public next week but has now been published following the error.

Three police officers who were found to have a case to answer for gross misconduct over their inaction over the allegations have all retired - meaning no action will be taken against them.

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And emails seen by The Yorkshire Post reveal that the IPCC does not intend to publish the report in full.

An IPCC staff member said: “We do not intend to publish the investigation report.”

One officer who was found to have a case to answer for misconduct over alleged inappropriate remarks made to Ms Mjadzelics will face a hearing.

Ms Mjadzelics herself was taken to court on child pornography charges in 2015 but was cleared by a jury after they accepted her account that she was trying to entrap Watkins and trick him into revealing his crimes.

Joanne Mjadzelics

After her court case in January 2015, Ms Mjadzelics said she “went through hell” because police did not properly investigate Watkins.

She told the jury during the trial that police had ignored her reports about Watkins because she was a prostitute who they thought was a “nut job”.

In the draft, IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams is quoted as saying: “Having taken into consideration the nature and seriousness of Ms Mjadzelics’ allegations against Watkins, the inaction of some South Yorkshire police officers involved may have placed a child at risk of further abuse for several months.

“The evidence suggests that there was a general view among officers at Doncaster that Ms Mjadzelics was not to be taken seriously, and consequently enquiries were not progressed as they should have been.

Joanne Mjadzelics

“It is concerning that a neighbourhood police constable without specific training or support, rather than an officer from a specialist team, was expected to view and make judgement on a potential image of child sexual abuse.

“South Yorkshire Police did not handle a request for assistance from South Wales Police sufficiently thoroughly. I have recommended they create a policy document setting out what is expected of officers in collaborating on serious offence investigations.”

Inside the Yorkshire jail where Ian Watkins was held and where many sex abusers still deny their guiltBut an email exchange shows the IPCC did not intend to publish the full investigation report when it made the findings public next Friday at the same time as findings on allegations against South Wales Police involving Watkins are made public.

Ms Mjadzelics made reports to officers between March and May 2012 about Watkins and subsequently complained to the IPCC that officers failed to conduct an examination of her laptop when she took it to Doncaster Police Station three times during that period.

The laptop allegedly contained an indecent image of a child that Watkins, then lead singer of the Lostprophets rock band, had allegedly sent her.

The draft says: “The investigation found that a request in early March 2012 from South Wales Police for assistance with allegations from Ms Mjadzelics was initially allocated to the SYP Safer Neighbourhood Team, rather than its specialist Public Protection Unit .

“This led to a police constable with no training in the investigation of child sex abuse, or in the handling and preservation of evidence in computer-related offences, conducting an initial meeting with Ms Mjadzelics at Doncaster police station.

“The constable did not view any image, and there was no subsequent determined effort to ascertain whether Ms Mjadzelics had evidence of child sexual abuse in her possession.

“Later, in May 2012, a constable from the PPU had been instructed by a senior officer to seize the laptop at a further meeting with Ms Mjadzelics at Doncaster police station and to take a statement, but neither action was undertaken.

“On viewing the relevant alleged close-up indecent image of a child at the meeting, officers believed it to be of an adult female.

“The investigation also considered the supervisory actions of a police sergeant over other officers involved.

“In the IPCC investigator’s opinion, there was sufficient evidence that a police constable involved could have made inappropriate remarks to Ms Mjadzelics at the police station, about the reasons why she was making allegations about Watkins.

“The IPCC investigation considered a range of national and force policies on child abuse enquiries, and powers of seizure under PACE.

“The IPCC is also issuing findings today in respect of how South Wales Police handled allegations against Ian Watkins.

“Ian Watkins was arrested on 21 September 2012 by South Wales Police, initially in connection with drugs offences.

“He was further arrested on 24 October 2012 on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children and of publishing an obscene article.”

South Yorkshire Police have been contacted for comment.