A £10,000 reward is being offered for a Scottish man on Crimestoppers’ most wanted list over the murder of a woman in Somerset.
The organisation is offering the cash for information that leads to the arrest of Richard Scatchard.
The 70-year-old, a convicted sex offender, is wanted for questioning over the killing of Kelly Faiers in Minehead, Somerset, during the early hours of Sunday, October 15.
The 61-year-old, who police say was in the relationship with Scatchard, was found dead at his home.
Scatchard is a prolific user of dating apps and a number of years ago was convicted of sexual offences in which he administered drugs to his victims to enable his crimes.
Police believe he is a risk to the public, in particular women that he forms relationships with.
Despite approximately 80 reported sightings from people trying to help our enquiries, none of them since that date have been confirmed as Scatchard.
Events of October 14-16
Police say they know Ms Faiers and Scatchard, who were in a relationship, went out to The Duke of Wellington pub, in Minehead, on the evening of Saturday, October 14. CCTV shows them having a drink together.
In the early hours of the following morning, Scatchard called the ambulance service to his home, in Blenheim Road, due to Ms Faiers being critically ill. She was pronounced dead by medics at the scene.
Police were called minutes later by the ambulance service at 4.15am, as is normal procedure following a unexpected sudden death. Officers spoke with Scatchard before leaving the scene.
On the afternoon of Monday, October 16, officers wished to ask Scatchard further questions and again attended his home address, where his property was found to be empty.
A forensic, post-mortem examination to determine the cause of Ms Faiers’ death was inconclusive but it is currently being treated as suspicious while detectives await the results of further tests.
Search for Scatchard
Scatchard was initially considered to be missing before new information led the police to issuing a wanted appeal for him.
Officers believe Scatchard spent the night after Ms Faiers’ death – the October 15-16 – in the Watchet area, which he used to regularly visit. CCTV captured at about 9am on Monday, October 16, shows Scatchard in the Swain Street area of Watchet. This is the last sighting on CCTV we have of Scatchard.
One person, who knew Scatchard, has since told police they saw him later that same morning wearing light-coloured shorts when they were driving along Blenheim Road in Minehead.
Previous public appeals have culminated in more than 80 calls and online reports of potential sightings. Officers continue to analyse every one of them, but those that have been reviewed have either been discounted or there is insufficient evidence to determine whether it is Scatchard.
The vast majority of the reported sightings have come in the West Somerset area, but we remain mindful he may have travelled to another part of the country, as previously stated.
The National Crime Agency is supporting Avon and Somerset Police’s efforts to locate Scatchard. It has provided specialist advice to help the force develop its continuing search plans in a bid to find him.
Enquiries into Ms Faiers’ death are being led by the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT).
Senior investigating officer detective superintendent Gary Haskins said: “The forensic post-mortem examination carried out shortly after Kelly’s death proved inconclusive.
“The circumstances behind Kelly’s death are still unclear despite further test results, but it continues to be treated as suspicious. We still wish to speak to Scatchard to see if he can help us progress our enquiries.
“We desperately want to provide Kelly’s family with the answers they deserve as soon as we can.”
Det Supt Haskins continued: “The other equally important focus we have, which we particularly want the public’s help with, is the search for Scatchard.
“We are hugely appreciative of everyone who has sought to help our enquiries, from people calling in with information to locals putting in their business windows the wanted posters the Minehead neighbourhood team has distributed.
“We have also had constructive conversations with the National Crime Agency who are providing us support with these searches, for which we are grateful.
“Ultimately, the best chance of us apprehending Scatchard is by a member of the public calling in with key information about his whereabouts. This may be through a chance sighting or even someone who has previously been reluctant to come forward – either way we’d please encourage those people to call 999.
“And if Scatchard sees this appeal, we’d urge him to do the right thing and to hand himself in.”
How can you help?
Scatchard is described as being white, about 5ft 11ins, of average build with short grey hair. He speaks with a Scottish accent and has previously claimed to be called Richard Dunlop.
If you see Scatchard, police say you should not approach him, instead phone 999 and provide the call handler with the reference 5223259285.
If you know where he may be, you can call 101 and give the call handler the reference same reference number, or complete Avon and Somerset Police’s online appeals form.
Crimestoppers is supporting this investigation by offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information it exclusively receives.
The charity can be contacted anonymously online and on 0800 555111.
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