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November 28, 2013updated 29 Nov 2013 2:15pm

Confirmed: South Wales Police investigating Peaches Geldof over Lostprophets tweet

By Darren Boyle

Peaches Geldof is under police investigation after breaking a court order by naming two women who allowed their babies to be abused by paedophile singer Ian Watkins.

The daughter of Boomtown Rats star Bob Geldof tweeted the names of two women involved in the case.

The two children are guaranteed life-long anonymity and naming their mothers could lead to their identification.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, Senior Investigating Officer from South Wales Police said:

We are aware that the names of Ian Watkins’ co defendants have been published on social media channels.  Clearly, there is strong public feeling about this case and many people are using social media forums to talk about the issues involved. 

We are currently in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the matter and will take action if appropriate.  

Our primary objective as an organisation remains the safeguarding of vulnerable people and children.  Victims of sexual abuse have a right to anonymity in order to protect their future welfare and we urge those discussing the issues raised online to be careful about using information that identifies victims in cases like this.

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Anyone who has been affected by this case can contact South Wales Police on 02920 634184 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.

A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service added: 

Anonymity for victims of sexual offences is a vital component of the criminal justice process. 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.

 

Geldof was warned by fellow social media users that naming the two women was in breach of a court order. It is understood the offending message remained online for four hours before it was deleted.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Dominic Grieve told Press Gazette:  "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."

Yesterday Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle warned online commentators against naming either woman: “Clearly there is strong public feeling about this case and many people are using social media outlets to talk about the issues involved. However, there is a very real danger that some of the detail being posted will lead to the identification of the victims which will cause a great deal of distress to them and their families.”

The Attorney General has previously taken a very hard stance on breaches of court orders. Yesterday a man was given a suspended jail sentence after he tweeted images of a person he claimed was James Bulger’s killer Jon Venebles as an adult.

James Baines admitted tweeting the image on 14 February despite a life-long anonymity order for both killers.

He was given a 14-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs.

A court order from January 2001 prohibits naming or publishing any information that could identify the appearance or location or the new identities of Venebles or Robert Thompson.

One image showed Venables in a school photograph as a child while below and alongside were different images of an adult male.

They were accompanied by the tweet: "Its on bbc news about the jon venables pic on twitter saying its been removed eerrm no it hasn't."

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve (pictured above) said in a statement: "It gives me no pleasure to bring a third case for breaching this injunction and I do so purely in the wider public interest.

"The order has been in place for many years and applies to both media organisations and individuals. It is meant not only to protect Venables and Thompson but also those members of the public who have been incorrectly identified as being either of them."

Baines's counsel, Peter Lownds, said the tweet – posted two days after the actual anniversary of James's death – came at a highly emotional time for the community.

Baines, who attended the same school as cousins of the Bulger family, admitted that he went "far too far".

"He had a very strong emotional reaction to the anniversary. He accepts it is not an excuse for his behaviour but it is offered as some explanation for why he became involved in the very substantial social communication over Twitter and Facebook at about that time.

"He recognises and accepts that, whilst he is entitled to hold his strong views, he was completely wrong to do what he did on that day and was not entitled to take the law into his own hands."

He said the court had seen a letter from James's father, Ralph, which was relevant to the situation and reflected discussions he had had with Baines.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Tugendhat, said that, after posting the tweet, Baines disregarded those who said he was wrong to do so and poured abuse on them.

He maintained his defiant stance on Twitter and, the following month, said on Facebook that he had complete contempt for the police if they were to take action against him.

He initially denied ownership of the Twitter account and, even after accepting the postings were his, said he had no knowledge of the injunction.

"There was an apology but it was substantially undermined by his failure to be candid with the court."

Lord Thomas said it was an extremely serious case with a number of serious aggravating features.

"He acted in flagrant breach of the Attorney General's injunction, knowing of it, and engaged himself in a determined campaign.

"He knew of the consequences and displayed an attitude to this court, the Attorney General and the police of complete contempt.

"Those who suggested he was in breach of the order were subjected to particularly unpleasant abuse.

"It also appeared that the purpose of his postings was to harm Jon Venables.

"The only conceivable mitigation was his admission two days ago that he had known all along and accepted the Attorney General's case in full."

Suspending the sentence with "very very considerable hesitation", he said the fact that Baines was part of the Bulger family's community could not conceivably excuse his conduct, but might help to explain it.

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