A POLICE force missed a number of opportunities to bring paedophile rockstar Ian Watkins to justice, after dismissing a Yorkshire woman who repeatedly reported him as a witness who ‘lacked credibility’.
An IPCC report into the numerous opportunities missed by South Wales Police to act on allegations made about Watkins published today revealed that the force did not so much as even interview Watkins prior the execution of a drugs warrant in September 2012 - despite the first allegation about his child sex crimes being made four years earlier.
It said: “None of the reports or intelligence submissions made from December 2008 to June 2012 led to Watkins being arrested, questioned or otherwise required to respond to the allegations made against him.”
Watkins’ ex-girlfriend, Joanne Mjadzelics, of Doncaster, contacted the force numerous times to inform them of the Lostprophets singer’s offending between 2008 and 2012 and handed in several pieces of evidence that were stored on her computer and mobile phone.
The 42-year-old said: “When he was finally charged it hit me like a cannon ball.
“Even though I knew it was all true, because I’d been pushed away so many times, and had been made to feel like I was crazy, I’d begun to doubt myself.”
Watkins was jailed for 35 years in 2013 for a string of child sex charges including the attempted rape of a fan’s baby.
The IPCC today said that South Wales Police’s ‘assessment of Ms Mjadzelics as lacking credibility resulted in the force not taking adequate steps to progress reports’.
IPCC Commissioner for Wales, Jan Williams, said: All those involved in responding accepted the initial sceptical view of Ms Mjadzelics’ reports, demonstrating a lack of open-mindedness and professional curiosity.
This continued until ‘the right type of complainant came along’. She added: “This case demonstrates the risks inherent in failing to explore investigative opportunities to the fullest in such circumstances.”
The report states that one officer involved in the case failed to act on what Ms Mjadzelics told them due to their belief she was making ‘malicious’ allegations.
It said: “DC B stated that she did not send Ms Mjadzelics’ mobile phone and laptop to the Hi-Tech Crime Unit because she had formed the view that her allegations were malicious.”
Another officer told the IPCC he had been ‘cautious’ about information the mum-of-one provided due to his belief she had ‘mental health issues, based on information provided by one of her relatives’.
Following the conclusion of the investigation in May last year, the IPCC and South Wales Police agreed that officer had a case to answer for gross misconduct, and two officers had a case to answer for misconduct.
The IPCC said today that no disciplinary action has been taken, or will be taken, against any of the three officers. The watchdog confirmed last week that no action would be taken against three South Yorkshire
Police officers who had failed to act, due to the fact all three had retired. Ms Mjadzelics said last week that she wanted to see both internal police proceedings and criminal charges brought against the officers who had failed to act from both forces. “Yes those Ian Watkins and those two women are in prison - but what about those officers who will never face any action?
She was put on trial in 2015 over child pornography charges brought by South Wales Police. but was acquitted after a jury accepted her assertion that she was trying to trap Watkins and force him to admit his crimes. Commenting on the report South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said it highlighted a number of failings “which the force entirely accepts and regrets”.
“South Wales Police failed to listen and properly investigate information about Watkins’ offending behaviour, for this we are truly sorry,” he said.
“The review instigated as a result of Watkins’ arrest led to significant changes being made to the way we investigate crimes of this nature.”
Mr Vaughan said the force had invested in teams of dedicated staff who deal with child protection issues.
“I am confident that police officers and staff who work in this very challenging area care deeply about the service they provide to victims,” he added.
“The work of the investigation team who brought Watkins to justice resulted in him receiving a 29-year prison sentence for his appalling crimes against children.”
He urged people to report child safety concerns immediately.