It's been three years since former Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually abusing infant children (to put it mildly), saying at the time in 2014, he did it for the LOLZ. What it boils down to is Watkins raping children, conspiring to rape children and even blowing methamphetamine smoke in an infants face to get it addicted to the drug. Thankfully, his band and family outed him and the dude's going to jail for 35 years.
But a new report from BBC suggests that Watkins could have been stopped much sooner.
IPCC Commissioner for Wales Jan Williams said the way the reports were handled was subject to conscious or unconscious bias.
"This investigation raised the most disturbing concerns about the way in which reports of Ian Watkins' sickening child abuse were handled between 2008 and 2012," she said.
"Watkins' arrest for his depraved activities followed only after an arrest for drugs offences, an added cause for serious concern."
The report corroborates a story we reported on from a British tabloid, that Watkin's girlfriend at the time, Joanne Mjadzelics, went to warn police in 2009 that he texted her about his desires to have sex with children. At the time, the police blew her off. In 2013, she told The Daily Mirror:
I went straight to South Wales police then and made a complaint but they ignored me and said I needed evidence. I warned them this man was a danger to young kids but I think they thought I was just a trouble maker. I couldn’t believe how indifferent the police were, it was like they were taking his side and dismissing me as some stalker. I told Ian I had gone to the police and we argued but he was so cocky, he did not think the police would touch him and he was right.
The new report notes that several other people came to the police with reports and all of them were blown off. It was only once Watkins was picked up on drug charges that all of this came to light.
At this point, IPCC Commissioner for Wales Jan Williams admits they made a mistake.
"In my view, all the reports made were subject to a biased response, whether this was conscious or unconscious," Ms Williams added.
"Some were conflated with reports made by Ms Mjadzelics and were thus dismissed as lacking credibility.
"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'."
The report doesn't indicate why police didn't trust Mjadzelics, but it is likely because of her status at the time as an escort. Mjadzelics was arrested in 2015, facing charges related to Watkins' incidents, but her charges were eventually dropped. Mjadzelics says she now feels vindicated and is considering a civil suit.
South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan issued a formal apology today, writing:
"Today's report highlights a number of failings in which information about Watkins was investigated between 2008 and 2012 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."