South Wales Police could have stopped Watkins sooner

25 August 2017, 05:00

Ian Watkins

The police watchdog says paedophile rock star Ian Watkins could have been brought to justice four years earlier, if police had investigated properly.

The Lostprophets frontman from Pontypridd was jailed for 29 years in 2013 after admitting a string of depraved sex offences against children.

But now the Independent Police Complaints Commission says South Wales Police missed several opportunities to bring him to justice.

A report says officers made basic mistakes and failed to look into reports from Watkin's ex-girlfriend Joanne Mjadzelics.

Ms Mjadzelics first reported Watkins in 2008 and told officers she had a message on her mobile phone from Watkins about his desire to abuse children.

The police watchdog found her phone was not examined on the basis her report "was malicious".

The Children's Commissioner for Wales, Sally Holland, told Heart: "It is disturbing to think that such a catalogue of basic errors can take place in the twenty-first century.

"There can be no defence or excuse for a four year delay in bringing Watkins to justice."

In total, the IPCC investigation found South Wales Police ignored eight reports from six individuals about the singer's crimes.

An NSPCC Cymru Wales spokesman said the report's damning conclusions should be a "wake-up call".

South Wales Police says it has accepted the findings of the IPCC report. Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan said: "The report highlights 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.

"Our primary objective remains the safeguarding of vulnerable people and South Wales Police has since improved the way these often complex child abuse investigations are managed."

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