Officers in Doncaster failed to take seriously complaints made over three months in 2012 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 after being jailed in December 2013.
“From day one, they treated me like some obsessed fan, like I was crazy. They thought ‘Let’s not listen to her, let’s not believe her - let’s trust the nice pop star instead’,” she said.
Ms Mjadzelics said the force not only refused to act on her complaints about the Lostprophets signer but later arrested her on behalf of South Wales Police, the force she had originally raised concerns about Watkins with. She was then prosecuted herself on child pornography charges. In 2015, a jury found Ms Mjadzelics not guilty after they accepted her account that she was trying to entrap Watkins and trick him into revealing his crimes.
But South Yorkshire Police has now apologised to her for the “unacceptable” way they handled her case after accidentally sending damning draft Independent Police Complaints Commission findings to The Yorkshire Post on Friday morning. The IPCC findings reveal that the force’s failings “put a child at risk of further abuse of further abuse for several months”.
Three unnamed 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. A fourth officer is to face a misconduct hearing over alleged inappropriate remarks made to Ms Mjadzelics. Emails seen by The Yorkshire Post reveal that the IPCC does not intend to publish the report in full.
Between March and May 2012, Ms Mjadzelics took a laptop to Doncaster Police Station three times which she said contained an indecent image of a minor that she had been sent by Watkins. On the first two occasions, officers did not view the content.
On the third occasion, the IPCC said that “officers viewed the image, but told her that it was an adult female. The image was not viewed by specialist child protection investigators at any point”.
Ms Mjadzelics said she was unhappy at the lack of action against the three retired officers, especially given South Yorkshire Police has now said the way her allegations were handled had been unacceptable.
“This IPCC investigation has taken four years, but if no-one is made to take responsibility, if nothing has changed, then what has it all been for?,” she said.