Wales

Joanne Mjadzelics: Ian Watkins' ex cleared over abuse images

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Media captionJoanne Mjadzelics was cleared of all charges by the jury at Cardiff Crown Court

An ex-lover of paedophile Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins has been cleared of child sex abuse image offences.

Joanne Mjadzelics, 39, from Doncaster, had denied seven charges at Cardiff Crown Court.

She claimed she had encouraged the singer - serving 35 years for child sex offences - to send the images in order to expose his criminality.

She told how she gave evidence to police at least five times but they failed to act for four years.

Speaking through tears on the steps, she said: "This was a vicious prosecution."

She added: "I shouldn't have even been here - just for doing the police's job that they couldn't be arsed to do.

"Do I regret meeting him? Yes, I regret meeting him but if I hadn't met him then no-one would have reported him so I guess I can't regret anything because I was the one who kept going back and going back and reporting and reporting."

Image copyright South Wales Police
Image caption Watkins was jailed for 29 years and told he must serve a further six on licence in 2013

Ms Mjadzelics reported Watkins to police and social services in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 to raise the alarm over his child sex crimes.

"They did nothing," Ms Mjadzelics told reporters on Wednesday. "I feel like this is the end of a long seven years of trying to get the police to do something about him."

Ms Mjadzelics was accused of joining in the sexual fantasies of singer Watkins and sharing indecent images before he was jailed for 35 years for trying to rape a baby.

But the mother-of-one, a former sex trade worker and special constable, said she only continued the relationship to gather evidence against Watkins while the prosecution claimed she was obsessed with him and would have done anything to please him.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has three independent investigations ongoing focused on the response of South Wales Police, Bedfordshire Police and South Yorkshire Police to allegations that Watkins was abusing children.


Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Joanne Mjadzelics claimed she was trying to expose paedophile Ian Watkins

Timeline of allegations

  • 29 December 2008 - Joanne Mjadzelics' reported Watkins to Pontypridd Child Services for inappropriate conduct with a child
  • 31 December 2008 - Rhondda children's services received a handwritten letter from Ms Mjadzelics
  • 8 January 2009 - Meeting held to discuss allegations, police investigation opened
  • 28 March 2009 - Ms Mjadzelics is interviewed by West Yorkshire Police
  • 1 June 2009 - Investigation officially closed by South Wales Police
  • 4 October 2010 - Report made to the Met Police by someone else of "disturbing comments" made by Ian Watkins
  • 29 May 2011 - Ms Mjadzelics sent email to ACPO claiming Watkins had raped a young child
  • 21 September 2012 - Watkins is arrested and bailed and his computers seized

The police watchdog has concerns his celebrity status delayed him being brought to justice.

IPCC Commissioner Jan Williams said: "There is understandably significant public interest in determining exactly what steps were taken by police in response to the allegations made against Ian Watkins, and whether he could have been brought to justice sooner."

During Ms Mjadzelics' eight-day trial the court heard how she had contacted social workers to report Watkins for 'inappropriate conduct with a child'.

An investigation followed but officers wrote off Ms Mjadzelics as a "nuisance" harassing the rock star.

Police records show that although Ms Mjadzelics was interviewed after making initial allegations in 2008, the fact there were no identifiable victims - and concerns had been raised by Mjadzelics' sister about her mental health - meant no further action was taken.

She was written off as a "disgruntled ex-partner".

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Media captionJoanne Mjadzelics: "The police don't want to believe a local hero was doing such things. Any excuse, lie after lie"

Defence barrister Michael Wolkind said: "The police failed to protect babies from Watkins and mothers who donated their babies to him."

He was referring to the two women, both mothers, who were jailed alongside Watkins for their part in his sexual abuse of young children.

Ms Mjadzelics' solicitor Dale Harris said after the verdict: "It was like some Orwellian nightmare where the truth about Watkins became lies and the unsubstantiated rumour about Miss Mjadzelics became fact.

"Time and time again she reported Watkins and time and time again she was ignored."

She told the jury she repeatedly went to the police and Watkins' family about his paedophile activities but was not believed until 2012.


The email which led to an infatuation

When she messaged the Lostprophets' website asking for information about buying tickets Joanne Mjadzelics was shocked to get a response directly from the lead singer of the band.

The email from Ian Watkins in 2006 was the first of many, as the pair struck up a relationship which would play itself out largely through text messages, internet phone calls and emails.

Watkins quickly suggested they meet and they started a sexual relationship.

Ms Mjadezlics admitted at her trial she was initially "totally in love" with the singer, and would have done anything for him.

Within months she had a tattoo of the initials of his full name - IDKW - on her back, a "big mistake" which she has since had changed.

The pair continued their on-off relationship with trysts in London, Cardiff, Leeds and Los Angeles - although Ms Mjadezlics told the court she was disgusted by Watkins' sexual interest in children and boasts of sex with underage fans. She said she was trying to gather evidence against him.


Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Joanne Mjadzelics giving a statement on the steps of the court after she was cleared

Ms Mjadzelics denied four charges of possessing indecent images of children, two charges of distributing images and a charge of encouraging and assisting the distribution of an indecent image of a child.

The 11-strong jury of six women and five men took more than 14 hours to clear her of all seven charges.

Deputy Chief Constable for South Wales Police, Matt Jukes, said: "During the trial, police actions prior to the most recent investigation were discussed.

"In 2012 South Wales Police initiated its own review into the sequence of events prior to the arrest of Ian Watkins. We identified that there were issues of concern and voluntarily referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission who is currently carrying out an investigation into these issues."

Catrin Attwell, Senior Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Cymru-Wales Complex Casework Unit said: "Our role is to consider the evidence gathered by police investigations and decide whether there is a realistic prospect of a conviction in court.

"Given the ongoing Independent Police Complaints Commission Investigation relating to complaints made by Ms Mjadzelics, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

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