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Judge warned sex attacker wanted in murder probe may never be safe to release from jail

Richard Scatchard could be using a fake name and has previously gone by Richard Dunlop  (Avon and Somerset Police)
Richard Scatchard could be using a fake name and has previously gone by Richard Dunlop (Avon and Somerset Police)

A judge warned that a 70-year-old sex attacker now wanted by police after a woman was found dead at his home was a “danger to women” and may never be safe to release from prison.

Richard Scatchard, a prolific dating app user, was jailed for life in 2000 for drugging women and documenting his sexual abuse in a personal porn stash.

Judge Hale said Scatchard was a “considerable danger to any woman” he entered a relationship with and that he could not predict when the sex offender would be safe to release, according to news reports from the time.

Nearly 23 years later, detectives have launched a manhunt for Scatchard after discovering the body of Kelly Faiers, 61, at his home in Minehead, Somerset, on Sunday. Police have warned the public not to approach him and say he is “high-risk” and dangerous.

It is not known exactly when the sex attacker was released after he was jailed, having admitted three charges of drugging his victims, two charges of indecent assault, one attempted rape, one charge of theft and one charge of burglary.

The ambulance service were alerted to the sudden death of Kelly Faiers, 61, from Weston-super-Mare, at Scatchard’s address on Blenheim Road, Minehead on Sunday (Avon and Somerset Police)
The ambulance service were alerted to the sudden death of Kelly Faiers, 61, from Weston-super-Mare, at Scatchard’s address on Blenheim Road, Minehead on Sunday (Avon and Somerset Police)

Reports in the Warrington Guardian claim Warrington Crown Court was shown footage of him putting a substance into one victim’s drink before stripping off her clothing and performing depraved sex acts on her while she was comatose.

Sentencing Scatchard, Judge Hale said: “You are in my view a considerable danger to any woman with whom you enter a relationship.

“These are very grave sexual offences demanding a sentence of life imprisonment. I say that because I cannot predict at what stage you would be safe to release.”

Avon and Somerset Police has warned members of the public not to approach Scatchard, who is wanted on recall to prison and in connection with an ongoing murder inquiry. They said the “prolific” dating app user is considered a risk to the public, especially the women he forms relationships with.

Ambulance crews alerted police to the sudden death of Ms Faiers, from Weston-Super-Mare, at Scatchard’s Minehead home on Sunday. A forensic post-mortem examination was inconclusive, but her death is being treated as suspicious.

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

Richard Scatchard is considered a risk to the public (Avon and Somerset Police/PA) (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)
Richard Scatchard is considered a risk to the public (Avon and Somerset Police/PA) (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

Detective Chief Inspector Jess Aston said: “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.”

It’s believed Scatchard could be 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.

Scatchard is white, about 5ft 11ins tall, of average build with short grey hair and speaks with a Scottish accent.

If you see Scatchard, do not approach, instead phone 999 and provide the call handler with the reference 5223251706.

If you can help, please call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5223251706, or complete the online appeals form.