Police make direct appeal to on-the-run sex offender wanted in murder probe to ‘do the right’ thing

Richard Scatchard is wanted by police after the sudden death of his girlfriend at his home in Somerset

Alex Ross
Wednesday 01 November 2023 15:43 GMT
Richard Scatchard is wanted by police investigating the death of his girlfriend in Minehead
Richard Scatchard is wanted by police investigating the death of his girlfriend in Minehead (Avon and Somerset Police)

An on-the-run sex offender wanted in a murder investigation has been urged to “do the right thing and hand yourself in” in a direct appeal from police as a major manhunt enters its third week.

A total of 55 reported sightings have been made of Richard Scatchard, 70, since he went missing after his 61-year-old girlfriend died suddenly at his house in Somerset on 15 October, says Avon and Somerset Police.

The force says the sex attacker, convicted of drugging women and attempted rape in 2000, poses a “serious risk of harm” to women, and anyone who sees him should call 999 immediately.

But 14 days into their search, detectives say they have little idea about where he currently is, and they’ve now issued a direct message to Scatchard to give himself up.

“Richard, if you see this, it is not too late to do the right thing and hand yourself in,” said Detective Chief Inspector Jess Aston.

Scatchard was last seen at a shop in Minehead on Monday, 16 October - the day after he called emergency services after his partner of a year, Kelly Faiers, died at his home in the coastal town.

Police attended his address, but when they returned the following day to question him further he was gone.

Scatchard could be using a fake name as he’s previously called himself Richard Dunlop
Scatchard could be using a fake name as he’s previously called himself Richard Dunlop (Avon and Somerset Police)

Since then a search has been carried out to find him. As well as a large team of ground officers focused on the Minehead area, drones have been used to look at remote sites while the coastguard has also been called upon to assist.

“Truth be told we don’t know where he is or where he has been the last two weeks,” said Det Chf Insp Aston told The Independent.

“There are several hypotheses. One is that he is on the run and he’s living outside in outbuildings which is why we ask the public if they‘ve got any outbuildings to check to see if there have been any signs of disturbance.

“The other option is someone is harbouring Richard Scatchard. I would be particularly concerned if that person harbouring him was a woman and even more so if they were in a relationship together.

“Or it could be he is staying somewhere completely unknown to us.”

The ambulance service were alerted to the sudden death of Kelly Faiers, 61, at Scatchard’s address in Minehead
The ambulance service were alerted to the sudden death of Kelly Faiers, 61, at Scatchard’s address in Minehead (Avon and Somerset Police)

Detectives are particularly concerned Scatchard has formed a new relationship as he is a prolific user of dating apps.

“If he is being harboured by a female, it’s absolutely vital that they call us 999 immediately, because if that is the case I’d be incredibly concerned for their personal safety and consider them to be at serious risk of harm,” Det Chf Insp Aston added.

Scatchard was jailed at Warrington Crown Court in 2000 after admitting to three charges of drugging his victims, two charges of indecent assault, one attempted rape, one charge of theft and one charge of burglary. He was released in 2013, and is now also wanted for a recall to prison.

Scatchard has been missing since 16 October
Scatchard has been missing since 16 October (Avon and Somerset Police)

A post-mortem examination to determine the cause of Ms Faiers’ death was inconclusive.

It is believed he is either on 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.

Scatchard is white, about 5ft 11ins tall, of average build with short grey hair and speaks with a Scottish accent. He has recent links to the Cornwall, Gwent and South Wales while previous links include the Cheshire and Leicestershire areas.

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.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in