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07th Jul 2023

‘I found out my fiancee was a paedophile days after we had our daughter’


She thought her partner was having an affair – but it was so much worse

A new mum found out her fiancé was a paedophile just days after she gave birth to their daughter.

Amy became suspicious of husband-to-be Jamie Kennedy when he showed little interest in their newborn.

She suspected him of having an affair so went through his phone but the truth was far worse than what she could have imagined.

Amy discovered her fiancé had been grooming children and blackmailing them to send nude photos of themselves.

The shocking revelation in 2016 sparked a police investigation which eventually led to 41-year-old Kennedy’s conviction on 16 charges relating to rape and sexual activity with children last month.

Amy, from Sittingbourne, Kent, who doesn’t want her surname published, was forced to endure years of anxiety while Kennedy continued to groom more child victims.

For seven years she was forced to endure harassment from her former partner both in person and online, despite a non-molestation order – forcing her to move home three times.

Though relieved, Amy – now happily married to another man with whom she shares a second child – has spoken out since Kennedy’s conviction to question if police could have taken action quicker, suggesting his more recent victims might have been spared.

Following Kennedy’s recent conviction, the mum-of-two was finally able to take her daughter to the park and let her play without the constant fear of him appearing unannounced.

Amy explained that her first suspicions arose following the birth of their daughter in 2016, when Kennedy was spending a lot of time on his phone and not paying much attention to his newborn baby.

Five days after returning home from hospital, she took the opportunity to check his phone and uncover the awful truth about her fiancé.

Having made her unthinkable discovery, Amy described becoming a single parent in an instant, and having her entire life turned upside-down.

She said: “I was up in the middle of the night with our baby and his phone was on charge on the floor, so I picked it up thinking he was definitely having an affair.

“At first I couldn’t find anything but I kept looking and eventually I saw all these conversations with really young girls sending fully nude photos… It was awful. “I was in complete and utter shock – we were engaged, saving for a mortgage and I’d just had a baby 17 days before.

“I literally lost everything in the space of an hour.

“My child no longer had a dad. My mortgage plans were off. Our wedding was off. “In the snap of a finger, I’d become a single parent who had essentially lost her whole life.

“I didn’t know what to do so I carried the baby into my mum’s room and said, ‘You need to get up’.

“She said, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I replied, ‘Jamie’s a paedophile.’”

Amy and her mother stayed up all night transferring the evidence from Kennedy’s online chats with young girls – conscious that he had destroyed a phone in a previous argument.

Three days later, after agonising over whether she was overreacting or being influenced by the trauma of her complicated birth just weeks before, Amy asked her mother to report Kennedy to the police.

But despite this taking place in 2016, Kennedy was only convicted following a crown court trial last month – with some of the offences he was found guilty of taking place as recently as last year.

The jury found he groomed a series of girls aged between 11 and 16, plying them with perfume and promises of a career in modelling over a period of almost 25 years.

Canterbury Crown Court heard that a year after Amy raised the alarm about Kennedy, she was at a barbecue when she learned of her former partner’s previous history of targeting young girls.

Prosecutor Nina Ellin KC explained that when the party’s host showed guests a picture of her son’s christening, one woman pointed to Kennedy, who was in the photo, and asked: ‘Why is a nonce at a christening?’.

Amy approached the guest to ask what they meant, and the woman replied: “He’s a nonce – he’s always been a nonce. Everyone knows he’s a nonce.”

Amy learned that Kennedy had been romantically pursuing an underage schoolgirl almost a decade earlier, and reported this new information to police.

But two years later, after finding out this lead had not been pursued, she reached out to the former schoolgirl herself to ask if she would consider talking to the police.

It transpired that, though the girl had been 16 and therefore not underage at the time of Kennedy’s advances, she had been subjected to heinous crimes, which she reported to detectives under Amy’s encouragement.

During last month’s trial, the woman described how Kennedy had messaged her online and made flirty conversations, before threatening to share screenshots of their chats with her parents unless she did what he asked.

The blackmail escalated until she felt forced to meet him, and she bravely described to the court how he raped and sexually assaulted her in his car while it was parked down a country lane.

Police charged Kennedy after interviewing his victim, and reports of his impending court case led to another victim coming forward.

This victim met Kennedy more than 20 years ago – when she was just 13.

She told the court that, following an invite to Sunday lunch, he sexually assaulted her while a relative lay passed out from drink, just metres away.

The victim spoke of the guilt she felt over having not come forward sooner and potentially preventing the harm he caused to subsequent victims.

The final charges against Kennedy related to offences that took place last year, while he was on bail awaiting trial.

The court heard he coerced a 13-year-old girl into sexual activity at his home, with the victim and her family completely oblivious to the fact he was facing trial for rape.

When first confronted with the allegations in a police interview, Kennedy said he had been messaging children purely for ‘research’ purposes, for an online safety app he was developing.

However, after it emerged he had only registered the business under the name ‘Keyword’ the day after he was caught, he later admitted this was untrue.

During the trial, Kennedy told the court he had only lied as he was being blackmailed by Amy – outrageously claiming that it was actually she who had committed all the crimes for which he had been accused.

Describing his ex-fiancée as “100 per cent evil”, he also accused her of forcing him to admit to the offences, saying she had threatened to take away his daughter if he refused.

Kennedy rebuked each claim levelled against him, and insisted all but the allegation from more than 20 years ago could be traced back to Amy in some way. On those historic charges, he suggested the victim had seen the news of his arrest and simply decided to ‘jump on the bandwagon’.

Addressing the jury, Ellin rubbished these claims, saying: “If you were going to break up with someone, would you do it this way?

“If you were going to break things off with your daughter’s father, would you want people to believe he was a paedophile?

“If you were going to frame someone as a paedophile, is this how you would go about it?”

Jurors took just under 11 hours to unanimously convict Kennedy of all 16 charges: two of causing or attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity; three relating to indecent images of children; six counts of rape and sexual assault and five counts of sexual activity with a child.

He was remanded into custody and will be sentenced in early September.

Amy said hearing the guilty verdict was a “surreal experience”.

“I sat between my mum and my husband and they each held one of my hands for that awful wait.

“Throughout the seven years, there have been times when I’ve been beside myself, probably depressed and had overwhelming anxiety, but I’ve had to just keep going knowing eventually we will get there.

“Then when the trial arrived I didn’t want it to because I was just so scared that he would get away with it.

“The public gallery is so close to where the defendant sits and he came in and he just stared at me – even in the courtroom he was still trying to intimidate me.

“But then the absolute relief when I heard that ‘guilty’ was something I’ve never experienced before.

“We all burst into tears because you are all pent up with adrenaline and anxiety. “It was surreal because I had felt like I was never going to get there. It had been going on for so long and it had such a huge impact on our lives.”

Amy added that, for a period, she had almost “blamed myself”, and questioned whether there weren’t signs she should have seen earlier.

“But I think as time has gone on I‘ve realised – no, there wasn’t,” she said.

“He got away with this for such a long time.”

But although now relieved that justice has prevailed, Amy still questioned whether Kennedy should have been convicted sooner.

She described the frustration at it taking a full seven years from his initial arrest for him to be convicted, and suggested some of his more recent victims might have been spared had police acted sooner.

On her sympathy for Kennedy’s latest victim, Amy said: “Can you imagine being that poor girl’s parents?

“Going to the police and them saying that they know that’s what he’s doing, he’s under investigation… “How can someone who is sexually abusing children be allowed to walk the streets?

“I just think, ‘How could you ever apologise to those parents enough?’, because had the case been dealt with properly from the beginning, he would have been in prison and that child would not have been a victim.”

Superintendent Nick Sparkes, of Kent Police, says the force “places victims at the heart of everything we do” and investigates reports of crime “as swiftly and efficiently as possible”.

He said: “In this particular case, the suspect was arrested one day after the initial report was received and an investigation was launched.

“Subsequent enquiries led to the identification of more victims, prompting a highly complex and sensitive investigation.

“This included carrying out various interviews with witnesses and victims and gathering evidential materials, including downloading and analysing numerous digital devices.

“This investigation resulted in several sexual offence charges being authorised and a conviction at court with the offender awaiting sentencing.

“We hope this provides some justice and closure for the victims in this case.

“We are committed to ongoing learning and have measures in place to ensure the strongest possible casefiles are submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service at the first attempt.

“We are continuing to review the circumstances of this case to identify any areas of improvement and future learning and have since been in touch with those involved to address any concerns raised.”

Kennedy will be sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court on September 8.

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