Police referred to watchdog over case involving sex offender wanted in murder probe

Police had been searching for Richard Scatchard following the death of Kelly Faiers at his home.

Police referred to watchdog over case involving Scots sex offender wanted in murder probe Avon and Somerset Police

A police force has referred itself for investigation over the handling of a case involving a Scottish sex offender wanted in connection with the murder of his partner.

Avon and Somerset Police has confirmed that a body was discovered in a caravan near Cleeve Hill in Watchet on April 4 is that of Richard Scatchard.

Police had been searching for the 70-year-old, who had been living in Minehead, Somerset, following the murder of Kelly Faiers, 61, in October 2023.

Scatchard had gone missing in the days after Ms Faiers had become critically ill and died at his home.

The force will be referring itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

This is because Avon and Somerset Police spoke to Scatchard at the scene of Kelly’s death, shortly before he disappeared, before carrying out subsequent inquiries to find him.

The police previously warned that Scatchard, who was convicted of sexual offences in which he administered drugs to his victims, posed a serious risk to women with whom he formed relationships.

The force said he was wanted on recall to prison, as well as in connection with the murder investigation into Ms Faiers’ death.

Detective Superintendent Gary Haskins, of the major crime investigation team, said: “Both Kelly’s family and Richard Scatchard’s family were notified after the body was found earlier this week.

“We have now informed both families that the body recovered has been confirmed as Scatchard.

“While it is apparent Scatchard died some time ago, the forensic post-mortem examination proved inconclusive in determining the cause of death.

“Therefore, as is routine in such cases, we continue to treat the death as unexplained, albeit we are not aware at this time of there being any suspicious circumstances.

“Inquiries will continue and a file produced for the coroner.”

On October 14, Scatchard and Ms Faiers went out together for the evening.

Scatchard called the ambulance service to his home address in Blenheim Road at 4.15am on October 15, reporting Ms Faiers was critically ill. She was pronounced dead by paramedics.

Police also went to the property and spoke to Scatchard. They returned the following day, on October 16, to speak to him again, but he had disappeared.

A post-mortem examination to determine the cause of Ms Faiers’ death was inconclusive, with further tests carried out.

Her death is being treated as suspicious by police.

After police spoke to Scatchard on October 15, he travelled to Watchet. The last confirmed sighting of him on CCTV is in the Swain Street area at about 9am on October 16.

He was then seen near his home address in Minehead by a member of the public at about 10am on October 16.

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