Wales

Judge slams North Wales Police child sex abuse charge delay

Michael David Jones Image copyright North Wales Police
Image caption Michael David Jones groomed a 14-year-old girl before picking her up in his car

A judge has criticised a police force for taking 18 months to charge a man who has since admitted sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl.

Michael David Jones, now 32, was jailed for three years and four months at Caernarfon Crown Court on Monday.

North Wales Police interviewed Jones in November 2017, but did not charge him until last May, a delay Judge Huw Rees called "inexcusable".

The force said it tried to "pursue investigations in a timely manner".

The court heard Jones, of Dwyran, Anglesey, picked up the vulnerable girl and drove her to Caernarfon, where he performed a sex act on her in the back of his car.

Police examined the girl's mobile phone and found a conversation with Jones - who was 30 at the time - in which she made clear she was 14.

Relationship broke down

Giving a statement from behind a screen, the girl, who is now 16, claimed it had ruined her life and caused her to her self harm.

"You were the adult - she was the child," Judge Rees told Jones.

Defence counsel Elen Owen said Jones was a hard-working plant operator with a young son.

His relationship with his partner had broken down and he had lost his home because of what had happened, Ms Owen added.

Jones was also made the subject of indefinite sexual harm prevention and sex offenders' orders.

Det Ch Insp Jackie Downes said: "We always strive to pursue investigations in a timely manner, and there are often several factors which can mean that investigations can take some time.

"However, North Wales Police acknowledges the comments of the judge in this case, and our thoughts are currently with the victim and her family, who have received police support throughout this difficult process."

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