Peaches Geldof faces criminal probe after tweeting names of mothers who helped Lostprophets paedophile abuse their babies
- Celebrity named the ‘sick, horrible women’ online in now-deleted rant
- Attorney General’s Office aware of tweets and says case ‘is a police matter’
- South Wales Police say they’re speaking to prosecutors over tweets
- Watkins, 36, attempted to rape a 11-month-old baby in April last year
- The boy’s mother – Woman A – pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting attack
- Another mother – Woman B – allowed singer to plot raping her daughter
By naming mothers the victims can be identified, which is illegal
Peaches Geldof is facing a criminal investigation for tweeting names that may identify victims of paedophile rock star Ian Watkins.
A court order was made to grant lifelong anonymity to two children whose mothers allowed Watkins to abuse them.
But yesterday Miss Geldof, daughter of Boomtown Rats singer Bob, broke the order by naming their mothers to her 161,000 followers on Twitter.
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In trouble: Peaches Geldof is facing a police investigation after she tweeted the names of women who helped Ian Watkins abuse their babies
Rant: The celebrity’s series of tweets have been deleted, but this grab shows how she ranted about the ‘sick, horrible women’
Prolific: In a less contentious tweet, Miss Geldof also commented on a magazine feature where she says Watkins was compared to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Peadophile: Ian Watkins is shown, left, in a police mugshot and, right, at the height of his fame
The Attorney General said a possible criminal offence had been committed. South Wales Police are investigating.
Only 24 hours previously, Miss Geldof had been lecturing the Press about invading people’s privacy.
Naming the mothers could lead to the identification of the children, which is why the court called them only Woman A and Woman B. Lostprophets singer Watkins was branded a ‘determined and committed paedophile’ after he pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a string of sex offences, including the attempted rape of a baby.
Warning: The Attorney General’s office has now tweeted to say that tweeting the names could be a criminal offence
The 36-year-old, from Pontypridd, South Wales, plotted the abuse with the two mothers in text and internet messages.
Yesterday morning Miss Geldof, 24, ranted to her followers: ‘The papers MUST name “woman A & B” who offered up their babies to this monster.’
Facing questions: Peaches Geldof tweeted the names, but they were later deleted
When no newspaper took up her suggestion, she decided to publish the banned details herself, after reportedly reading them on a US-based website.
She tweeted: ‘The names are…’ and wrote both mothers’ full names, before adding: ‘what sick, horrible women’.
Miss Geldof was warned by fellow Twitter users that her actions were in breach of a court order, to which she replied: ‘How???’ It is understood the message remained online for four hours before it was deleted. Twitter users branded her an ‘idiot’.
Last night a spokesman for Attorney General Dominic Grieve 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.’
Detective Chief Inspector Peter Doyle, of South Wales Police, said: ‘We are currently in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the matter and will take action if appropriate.’
Only a day earlier, Miss Geldof was taking the moral high ground over the Press, accusing newspapers of being ‘intrusive’ for reporting the court proceedings concerning Nigella Lawson’s alleged drug-taking.
Watkins was dated Fearne Cotton (pictured together in 2008) and Alexa Chung
She tweeted: ‘It’s at times like this that I wish that the press would not intrude into celebrities’ private lives on this degree. Did we learn nothing from the phone hacking scandal?’
She apparently failed to appreciate that the court case involving Miss Lawson is open to the public and is being widely reported on all media outlets.
The judge even took the unusual step of encouraging the media to apply for all reporting restrictions to be lifted – and then granting that request.
By contrast, the judge in the Watkins case made certain there were restrictions in place on what could be reported, which were automatically adhered to by the professional journalists covering the court.
Miss Geldof, who has two young sons with rocker husband Thomas Cohen, works as a journalist, writing columns for The Daily Telegraph and Elle Girl and articles for The Guardian.
It is not known whether she has ever had any training in media law.
Under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, the maximum sentence for the offence is two years in prison.
Miss Geldof’s agent said there was no comment to make.
Anyone who has been affected by this case can contact South Wales Police on 02920 634184 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000.
The dangers of Twitter and Facebook: How the courts have punished people for their online comments
James Baines posted a picture purporting to be James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables as an adult
A Twitter user who posted pictures purporting to be of James Bulger’s killer Jon Venables as an adult was yesterday given a 14-month suspended prison sentence.
Security guard James Baines was handed the sentence, suspended for 15 months, at London’s High Court for a flagrant contempt of court.
Baines, who is from Liverpool and close to the Bulger family, will also have to pay £3,000 in costs.
He admitted disobeying a January 2001 injunction binding on the whole world which prohibits the publication of any information alleging to identify the appearance, whereabouts, movements or new identities of Venables or Robert Thompson, who were convicted of the two-year-old’s murder in November 1993.
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.’
It was the first time the Attorney General had brought contempt proceedings involving the use of social media; however, a number of high-profile cases have seen people fined for breaking the law on Twitter or Facebook.
Nine people have been ordered to pay compensation to the woman raped by footballer Ched Evans for naming her online.
Last month Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow issued a grovelling apology to Tory peer Lord McAlpine after libelling him on Twitter at the High Court to draw a line under her comments on Twitter.
Payout: Commons speaker’s wife Sally Bercow, left, has paid £15,000 in damages to Lord McAlpine, right, after she posted a defamatory tweet wrongly implicating him in a child sex scandal
The 43-year-old agreed to pay £15,000 in damages, which will be donated to the Chelsea Pensioners, and has been left with a six-figure legal bill.
The libel arose following a BBC Newsnight programme last November over the abuse of young boys at care homes in Wales. It alleged that ‘a leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years’ had been involved.
As speculation raged over his identity, Mrs Bercow posted on Twitter: ‘Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*’
The allegation was without foundation and Lord McAlpine announced that he would pursue those who libelled him. The peer agreed a £185,000 settlement with the BBC and £125,000 with ITV.
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