• Thu. Feb 2nd, 2023

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Met Police inspector who was facing child porn charges is found dead

Jan 18, 2023

A Scotland Yard officer who was facing a raft of child porn charges has been found dead just as he was due to be charged after boys’ pants were allegedly found hidden in a secret room.

 

The body of Richard Watkinson was found at his home after he failed to report to a police station last week on the morning he was due to be charged.

 

The news of his death comes as an investigation by police watchdogs and the Met that revealed the chief inspector had a secret room in his house, hidden behind a trap door, where he reportedly kept a huge quantity of children’s underwear, sex toys, and images of child abuse said to be of the utmost severity. 

 

Investigators found no evidence that any child had been abused by him, but his potential access to schools was a major concern.

 

A joint investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct and the Met’s professional standards unit was launched in 2021. It led to a raid on Watkinson’s home in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, where the unmarried officer was the director of a residents association.

 

There, investigators found disturbing imagery found on his phone and computers. The material is said to have been Category A and B – the two most serious bands – which feature children being sexually abused.

 

He was arrested on July 9, 2021, over allegations of misconduct, sending obscene messages, corrupt exercise of police powers and data protection breaches.

 

Eleven days later he was held on suspicion of offences including conspiracy to distribute indecent images of children, voyeurism and misconduct in public office.

 

The arrest and suspension of the senior officer, nicknamed ‘Sir Smashy’ after a Harry Enfield character, sent shockwaves through the force.

 

He had been regarded as a popular and senior officer selected by the Met to give public statements following high-profile stings and police operations.

 

A lengthy and complex investigation was carried out into the case by Met specialist crime officers in liaison with officers in Scotland and Lincolnshire.

 

Last week, Watkinson had been due to report to a police station where he was to be charged with seven offences, including making indecent images of children, conspiracy to distribute or show an indecent photograph of a child, misconduct in public offence, and voyeurism.  But the alarm was raised when he failed to show up.

 

On Tuesday, a former colleague said there had been concerns about his access to children and suggested he had taken his own life ‘because of all the pressure he was under.’

 

They said: ‘He was arrested some time ago and when everyone found out it was a huge shock.’

 

Thames Valley Police said his death was unexplained but it was not considered suspicious.