Senior Police Officer's Death Ruled a Suicide

Richard Watkinson was about to be charged over child sex abuse images

Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson
Former Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson

August 31, 2023

An inquest has ruled that the death of a former senior local police officer was a suicide.

49-year-old Richard Watkinson, who was a Chief Inspector in the West Area Basic Command Unit which covers the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow, was about to be charged with offences relating to the possession and sharing of child sex abuse images when his body was discovered.

Watkinson, who was often the public face of the police in the two boroughs and a regular attendee at community meetings on crime, was found dead in his home on 12 January earlier this year.

It is believed that he was part of a paedophile ring with two other former police officers who shared images of abuse with each other. Indecent images of children were found at Watkinson’s home in Saunderton, Princes Risborough during a police search. He had allegedly installed a secret-trap door at the property which led to a hidden part of the house which contained computer equipment on which the images were found.

He was about to be charged with conspiring to share over 5,000 indecent images of children with retired colleagues Jack Addis and Jeremy Laxton who have both since been jailed for five years and nine months and three years and nine months respectively.

Watkinson had been suspended from duty in July 2021 having served with the Met for 26 years mainly based in the Borough of Ealing. Laxton also served in Ealing before retiring in 2011 while Addis worked in Harrow.

Jeremy Lawton and Jack Addis

Along side his body officers, who had called at his house to check why he hadn’t returned as he was required to under his bail conditions, found a hand written note.

The inquest took place at Buckinghamshire Coroner's Court this Wednesday (30 August) and Assistant Coroner Alison McCormick linked Watkinson's death to the ongoing police inquiries into his activities. She concluded that, on the balance of probability, he took his own life and that there was no evidence of third-party involvement.



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