Somerset sex offender wanted over death of girlfriend found dead months after disappearing

Richard Scatchard Credit: Avon & Somerset Police

Police searching for a sex offender wanted for questioning after a woman’s murder have discovered his body in a caravan.

Richard Scatchard, 70, from Minehead, Somerset, went missing after the death of Kelly Faiers, 61, from Weston-super-Mare, at his home address on 15 October last year.

Avon and Somerset 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.

A member of the public called police to report the discovery of a man’s body inside a caravan near Cleeve Hill in Watchet, just after 2pm on 4 April.

Today (Saturday 6 April) Avon and Somerset Police have confirmed the man is Scatchard after a forensic post-mortem examination.

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.

"Enquiries will continue and a file produced for the coroner."

Kelly Faiers was found dead at Scatchard’s home address in October Credit: Avon and Somerset Police/PA

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

Scatchard called the ambulance service to his home address on Blenheim Road at 4:15am on 15 October, 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 16 October, to speak to him again, but he had disappeared.

Avon and Somerset Police said Scatchard was considered a danger to women, particularly those he entered into relationships with, and had been a regular user of dating apps.

He had previous convictions for sexual offences in which he drugged his victims to abuse them.

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

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

Police received around 100 unconfirmed reported sightings of Scatchard, mainly in the west Somerset area.

On 20 December, the family of Ms Faiers made a complaint about the police response to her death to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The force voluntarily referred the complaint to the IOPC on 4 January.

In a statement released today, the family of Kelly Faiers criticised Avon and Somerset Police for their handling of the case, describing it as a "bodged inquiry" and condemned the force's communication with them over the latest development.

"This is a reflection of the general standards and lack of support we have received since the beginning of this bodged inquiry when Avon and Somerset Police failed to arrest Scatchard for questioning following the death of our mother."

In response, the force has apologised for not "properly communicating" the latest news with them and said they would continue to provide updates to Kelly's family at this incredibly difficult time.

"Family liaison officers were assigned to provide updates and offer support to Kelly's family following her death in October last year," a spokesperson said.

"A decision was taken yesterday, with neither family liaison officer on duty, for a Detective Sergeant who has had prior contact with Kelly's family to update them about a body being found to ensure they learned of the latest development from us at the earliest opportunity, even though formal identification has not yet been confirmed.

"We asked the family to not publicise this at that point, because we had not yet informed all the other relevant parties at that point in time.

"Following the issuing of a public update regarding the discovery of a body, we received contact from the family to express their dissatisfaction this had been issued. We called and apologised to them that this process had not been properly communicated with them.

"A decision to turn Facebook comments off on our post around the discovery of a body was made following messages speculating on the cause of death and circumstances during a live police investigation.

"We felt such commentary was inappropriate and potentially distressing and therefore believed the most sensible course of action was to disable them, in accordance with similar action previously taken. A message to explain that decision was posted on our Facebook page.

"We will continue to provide timely updates to Kelly's family as our enquiries progress in the coming days during what we appreciate is an incredibly difficult time for them."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…