Jill Owens was four months pregnant when she received horrifying news about her unborn child’s father.
It was Halloween 2006 when the police sergeant learned Dean Jenkins, a self-made businessman, had been arrested for being the getaway driver of a robbery gang that had stolen over $400,000 from building societies, which provide financial services in the UK.
"It was like as if I’ve been hit by a bullet," Owens recalled to Fox News Digital. "I was absolutely floored. I could not believe what I was hearing at all."
Owens recalled how a fairy tale romance quickly turned into a nightmare for a limited podcast series from Wondery and Novel, "Stolen Hearts." It details how the decorated member of law enforcement from rural Wales fell for what she thought was Mr. Right.
The 54-year-old previously wrote a book published in 2020, "Two Cops and a Robber," which described her "match made in hell."
"In the aftermath of everything that happened, I struggled extremely hard to try and deal with everything," she explained. "When I set out to write the book, I wanted to put some of those demons to rest. … I wanted to get rid of all the rumors. I wanted the truth from my perspective to come out. And it’s been therapeutic."
As a child, Owens had big dreams of joining the police force. She often found herself in front of the mirror wearing a Trilby hat like the one worn by Inspector Clousau from "The Pink Panther" series. In 1990, she joined the Dyfed-Powys Police Department. She served for 17 years and even received an award for bravery after risking her life to help a suicidal young man.
"Without being boastful, I was very good at what I did," she recalled. "And I was quite pleased that I managed to get the job that I always wanted to do."
While Owens’ career flourished, she privately found herself looking for love. After being married and divorced twice to two police officers, she was hopeful the third time would be a charm.
Despite her reservations, the single mother of two gave online dating a try after being coaxed by a pal. That’s how she met Jenkins.
"At the time, online dating was quite a new thing. It wasn’t like it is now," she said. "There was a bit of a stigma about it. I said, ‘I’m not feeling it, so I’m going to come off.’ And then I said, ‘I’ll have one more go.’ This time, rather than looking at the profiles, I’ll just look at the pictures and see if I’m attracted.
"That’s when I saw Dean dressed in a blue Armani suit. There was an instant attraction to the picture, which made me click on him. … We got to chatting, and it took off from there. It was an instant connection. We chatted as if we’ve known each other for a while."
Owens was quickly swept away by Jenkins, the charismatic self-made businessman who had his own line of men’s grooming products. While he was in London and she in Wales, distance didn’t matter. They eagerly met in Cardiff, a halfway point. The romance blossomed very quickly.
"I met his family. I went to his place of work. He met my family," said Owens. "There were no missing gaps whatsoever. We were three hours apart, but we saw each other every other weekend. I had my children here, and he had his kids there. It was a long-distance relationship. But during the time that we were together, we packed a lot in on those weekends. And I met everyone. I met his sisters, his mum, his dad. There was absolutely nothing to suggest that there was anything wrong at all."
Owens received a surprise. She was pregnant.
"I supposed there will be a lot of opinions of, ‘That was far too soon,’ or, ‘They shouldn’t have gotten into that at all,’" she said. "But … when is the right time? It was a case of, we found each other, and we want to be together, so we’ll move that one step further. And when I found out I was pregnant, we were over the moon. It was wanted.
"It was the icing on the cake. It was absolutely perfect. … I suppose everyone wants to feel that they’ve finally met their soulmate, and they’re going to spend the rest of their life and be happy with them. At that time, that’s what it seemed like. It was probably too good to be true, but it all felt so right. There was nothing to question there."
On Halloween night 2006, Owens suddenly found herself worried. She hadn’t heard from Jenkins in two days, which was unusual. She was elated when his sister sent a message, asking her to call.
"He was always constantly messaging or calling, and then, all of a sudden, there’s nothing," said Owens. "So when his sister called, it was a relief because I was finally getting some news. I needed to know what was going on because something wasn’t right. And I was so desperate to find out what the hell was going on."
According to Jenkins’ sister, there was a robbery in Kent. One of the armed thieves had been shot dead. And Jenkins was the getaway driver for the gunman.
Owens learned that Jenkins was part of a gang that targeted security guards delivering cash to building societies across Kent. Raids occurred between March and October of that year.
"I have heard a million times, ‘She must have known. She should have known,’" Owens admitted. "But, at that time, there was no criminal record for him. … I was pregnant. My job was on the line. My home was on the line. My relationship was gone. Everything dear to me was blown up in one fell swoop.
"It’s taken so many years to process what had happened," she added. "I constantly questioned myself, ‘Why did he do this?’ or, ‘Why did I react that way?’ There is no bigger critic than me."
Owens soon became the subject of disciplinary proceedings. Two to three senior officers would interview her at once, Owens said, insisting she must have known about her beau’s double life.
"They said I should have known because the names of two of his shower gels were Beat the Filth, and It’s a Stick Up, and they were clearly referencing armed robberies," she said. "Somehow, I should have known with him having that shower range that he was an armed robber, which was ridiculous. There was no sign whatsoever that he was involved with anything like that. And there was no record of him at all."
Her career as a sergeant was officially over. Owens said she was "required to resign" in 2008. A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Jenkins was sentenced to 17 years behind bars.
"My career, my income and my family were fractured over this," she said. "I lost friends. Colleagues wouldn’t speak to me. I was very much alone. I’ve gone from being in this fairy tale to finding myself in the absolute depths of hell. And I remained there for a long time – many years. It was still a hard climb because I couldn’t trust anyone. I couldn’t make sense of anything. I was naturally defensive. I built a wall up. It came to a point where I was like, ‘You’re either going to learn to love again and have a life, or you’re going to let this whole thing be the end of your life.’
"I still don’t feel [Dean] realizes or even wants to acknowledge the enormity of the effect this had on me," she said. "He was the one involved in the robbery. I wasn’t aware of it, and yet it affected my whole life."
While Owens was left with unanswered questions from her former lover, she has since moved on. Today, she runs her own business and is happily married. She has also received letters from many others who also found themselves on the wrong side of love.
"[My past] doesn’t cut me anymore," she said. "I know where I am now, and I know what’s right. There hasn’t been a day when I don’t go over it all and question what I did.
"But this was a one-in-a-million chance that these circumstances all fell on top of me at one time. It’s been a hard road, but I have come to terms with what happened. And, in telling my story, the goal was to save myself."