Manhunt launched for sex offender after woman found dead at his Somerset home

Police are asking anyone who sees Scatchard to call 999 immediately Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A manhunt is underway for a 70-year-old sex offender after a woman was found dead at his Somerset home.

Avon and Somerset Police have warned the public to stay away from Richard Scatchard who has previously been convicted of sexual offences in which he drugged his victims.

Scatchard spoke to officers initially but vanished before they could return to question him again about the death. He was last seen in Minehead on 16 October but police concede now he “could be anywhere in the country”.

The “prolific” dating app user is wanted in connection with the murder investigation and is considered a risk to the public, especially the women he forms relationships with.

Detectives want to speak to him after discovering the body of Kelly Faiers, 61, at his home in Minehead on Sunday 22 October.

Kelly’s family are being supported and updated by specially trained family liaison officers. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A forensic post-mortem examination to determine the cause of Kelly’s death was inconclusive. Police say her death is being treated as suspicious while the force awaits the results of further tests.

Detective Chief Inspector Jess Aston said: “Our thoughts are with Kelly’s family at this tragic time and we’re doing all we can to provide them with the answers they deserve.

“We initially treated Scatchard as a high-risk missing person due to concerns he presented an immediate and serious risk of harm to himself.

“As our inquiry has progressed, we have become less worried about his welfare and far more concerned about the danger he presents to other people.

“His previous behaviour, along with information we have gathered since his disappearance, makes us anxious that he may have formed a new relationship with one or more women and that he presents a serious risk to their safety.

“Scatchard is a prolific user of dating apps and has previously been convicted of sexual offences in which he administered drugs to his victims to enable his crimes.

“We’re using a wide range of resources and tactics to try and locate him but have so far been unsuccessful."

Scatchard was last seen on Monday 16 October Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

Scatchard is described as being white, around 5ft 11ins tall, of average build with short grey hair.

It’s believed he could be travelling by foot or using a distinctive electric bicycle – a grey Gepida Alboin Curve which has a pink front tyre rim, flowers on the rim of the rear tyre and green and yellow electrical tape around the handlebars.

DCI Aston says that there have been 24 reported sightings of Scatchard, most of which were in Minehead and Watchet.

“Extensive searches continue to be carried out on both land and at sea in the Minehead area but we really need the public’s help.

“We continue to ask people to call 999 immediately if they see him. Do not approach him as we do not know how he may react.

“We’re also keen to hear from anyone who might know where he is or has knowledge of who he’s been in contact with recently.”

Call 999 if you see Richard Scatchard. Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

The last confirmed sighting of Scatchard was at 10am on 16 October on Blenheim Road.He speaks with a Scottish accent and has previously claimed to be called Richard Dunlop.DCI Aston added: “This is a complex investigation and our understanding of what may have happened to Kelly continues to evolve."Our absolute priority is to find Scatchard and see if he can assist with our enquiries. Richard, if you see this, please do the right thing and hand yourself in.“Our search has focused on the Minehead area however Scatchard could be anywhere in the country – we know he has recent links to Cornwall, Gwent and South Wales while previous links include the Cheshire and Leicestershire areas.“If you can help, please get in touch."