PEACHES GELDOF HAS apologised for tweeting the names of the mothers involved in the recent, high-profile paedophilia case which led to the conviction of Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins.
However, the journalist also defended her actions in a series of tweets to her 166,000 followers this morning. She said:
“For all of those out there tweeting me about naming the paedophile mothers involved in the Ian Watkins case, the names have been in the public domain since 12 December when the court named them and put them up on their website for all to see – half of twitter had tweeted out the names also aside from my (now deleted) tweet.
“The babies will most probably be given new identities to protect them from future abuse from other paedos who know who they are/ their names from the videos Watkins uploaded to Paedo websites (sic).
The question of wether (sic) or not to give anonymity to criminals in cases like this will go on forever. However these women and Watkins will be getting three meals a day, a double bed, cable TV etc – all funded by the tax payer alongside not being named apparently. It makes me sad.
“I deleted my tweets however and apologise for any offence caused as at the time of tweeting had only seen everyone tweeting the names at me so had assumed as they were also up on news websites and the crown courts public file that they had been released for public knowledge. Will check my facts before tweeting next time. apologies and lesson learned.”
Geldof could face criminal charges for the indiscretion. South Wales police have confirmed they are investigating and will examine if prosecutions should be brought against her and others for identifying sexual offence victims who have lifetime anonymity under law.
The victims’ mothers have been granted lifetime anonymity to ensure their children are protected. They were both convicted of serious sexual offences earlier this week. Lostprophets lead singer, Watkins, also pleaded guilty to a string of guilty offences, including the attempted rape of a baby and conspiring to sexually assault a child.
Following the court case, Geldof had urged newspapers to print the names of the two female co-accused.
Identifying victims of sexual offences is a crime in the UK under the Sexual Offences Act. A conviction can carry a fine of up to £5,000.
“Anonymity for victims of sexual offences is a vital component of the criminal justice process,” commented the Crown Prosecution Service yesterday.
“The CPS is liaising with South Wales police in relation to their investigation into allegations that the names of two women convicted alongside Ian Watkins have been placed in the public domain, contrary to legislation that protects the identity of victims by banning the publicising of information which would identify them.”
A spokesperson for the Attorney General also made comment on the case. She said:
“We understand that the names of the co-defendants in the Ian Watkins case were posted online but have now been removed.
“As has been previously reported, the co-defendants were the mothers of the victims.
“Victims of sexual offences have automatic lifetime anonymity and the publication of names or information which can lead to their being identified is a criminal offence. This is a police matter.”