The 42-year-old Yorkshire woman who fought for years and put her liberty, reputation and health on the line to expose rock star Ian Watkins as a paedophile has spoken out about her fight to be believed.
Joanne Mjadzelics, who had an on-off relationship with Watkins for six years, had her name cleared for the second time yesterday when findings from the IPCC stated that South Yorkshire Police’s enquiries into allegations made by the 42-year-old were not ‘progressed as they should have been’.
The report into SYP’s handling of the allegations said this was due to a view that Ms Mjadzelics ‘should not be taken seriously’, and that their failure to act may have placed a child at risk of abuse for several months.
Watkins, 39, is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence for sex offences including the attempted rape of a fan’s baby. Two women were jailed alongside him for assisting his crimes.
While the force have now offered the mum of one their ‘sincere apologies’ she says it is too little, too late.
She said: “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.”
“It’s been years of screaming until I was blue in the face, of knocking on police doors, of begging for someone to believe me, of banging my head against a brick wall,” she said, adding:
“When he was finally charged it hit me like a cannonball. 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.
“What immediately started flashing through my mind was how many more children were there? How many more children are there? I started thinking if they’d listened to me, if they’d acted sooner could he have gone on to commit those sickening crimes?”
Commenting on the IPCC findings, she said: “Yes Ian Watkins and those two women are in prison – but what about those officers who will never face any action?
“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?”
Ms Mjadzelics made repeated allegations to South Yorkshire Police between March and May 2012, but officers failed to act on each occasion. This followed similar treatment by South Wales Police, to which she made repeated allegations between 2008 and 2009. The force closed its initial investigation into Watkins’ criminality in 2009.
Ms Mjadzelics said: “I think he got off on the fact the police weren’t doing anything. He knew I had been going to the police about him, but he kept telling about the sickening things he was doing with this twisted grin on his face. I’d be crying and telling him to stop, but he’d carry on.
“He thought he was untouchable, invincible and that he had the police in his back pocket – and they kept proving him right.”
But in 2013 South Yorkshire Police arrested Ms Mjadzelics on child pornography charges, relating to the indecent images she had been sent by the disgraced rock star. A jury cleared her of all charges following a trial in 2015.
She said: “When they arrested me I thought and told me they were charging me for possessing indecent images of children, I couldn’t believe it. I said ‘do you mean the ones I’ve brought to you five times?’.”
Ms Mjadzelics says the force’s refusal to take her allegations seriously, combined with the stress of the trial, has had a devastating impact on her mental health, and even pushed her to try and take her own life on more than one occasion.
“I’ve had severe depression since 2008 because of what happened. I had a breakdown, I’ve made suicide attempts. I’ve been chased by online trolls since 2012, and have even felt too afraid to leave my house at times. One troll even started harassing my son.”