Police urgently hunt convicted sex offender, 70, after woman found dead at his Somerset home

26 October 2023, 21:34 | Updated: 26 October 2023, 21:35

Police are urgently searching for Richard Scatchard.
Police are urgently searching for Richard Scatchard. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

By Jenny Medlicott

Police are on the hunt for a convicted sex offender after a woman was found dead in his Somerset home.

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Richard Scatchard, 70, is wanted on recall to prison and in connection with a murder investigation after a woman was found dead in his Somerset home.

Police have warned that Scatchard, who was jailed in 2000 for drugging and sexually assaulting victims, could pose a serious risk to women he forms relationships with.

Officers were called to his Minehead, Somerset home on October 15 after receiving reports of the sudden death of Kelly Faiers, 61, from Weston-super-Mare.

Officers returned the following afternoon to speak to Scatchard but he had disappeared.

A forensic examination to determine Ms Faiers’ death was inconclusive. Her death is being treated as suspicious by police while they await further results.

"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,” Detective Chief Inspector Jess Aston, of Avon and Somerset Police, said.

Scatchard was last seen on 16 October on Blenheim Road.
Scatchard was last seen on 16 October on Blenheim Road. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police
Police want to speak to Scatchard in connection with the murder investigation.
Police want to speak to Scatchard in connection with the murder investigation. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

"Officers attended Scatchard's address on October 15 and returned the following afternoon to speak to him about the death, but he had disappeared.

"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."

Kelly Faiers, 61, was found dead in his Somerset flat.
Kelly Faiers, 61, was found dead in his Somerset flat. Picture: Avon and Somerset Police

Police are currently carrying out “extensive searches” for Scatchard in Minehead area but have appealed for the public’s help.

There have been 24 reported sightings of him following earlier appeals, with the majority of these in Minehead and nearby Watchet.

He is white, about 5ft 11ins tall, of average build with short grey hair. He speaks with a Scottish accent and has previously claimed to be called Richard Dunlop.

Members of the public are urged to call 999 immediately if they see him, and not to approach him.

Detectives are also appealing for information from anyone who may know where Scatchard is or has knowledge of who he has been in contact with.

The last confirmed sighting of him was on Blenheim Road in Minehead at 10am on October 16.

Ms Aston added: "Our professional standards department has been made aware of the incident and the initial police response to it, and are currently carrying out an assessment.

"Our search has focused on the Minehead area, however Scatchard could be anywhere in the country - we know he has recent links to the Cornwall, Gwent and South Wales areas while previous links include the Cheshire and Leicestershire areas.

Anyone who sees Scatchard is asked to ring 999, with the reference 5223251706. People can also provide information by calling 101, or by submitting it through the force's website.

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