Senior West London police officer under investigation for child abuse images found dead

Image above: Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson

Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson was under suspicion of being part of a paedophile network

A senior local police officer serving with the West Area Command Unit has been found dead at his home.

Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson, was suspended from duty following his arrest by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) last July. His body was found last Thursday (12 January) on the day he was due to report to a station as part of his bail conditions.

The 49-year-old was being investigated after indecent images of children were found at his home in Buckinghamshire, where items were found including pictures described as being of ‘the upmost severity’.

The serving Metropolitan Police officer allegedly installed a secret-trap door at the property which led to a hidden part of the house where computer equipment was found comtaining the images.

The IOPC passed on the investigation to specialist officers at the Met.

Watkinson was facing charges in connection with allegations that he had links to a network of online paedophiles. Cmdr Jon Savell from the Met’s professional standards team said:

“Ch Insp Watkinson was facing extremely serious and concerning charges, as the result of a painstaking and thorough police investigation.”

Two other men, neither of them police officers, were charged last week with similar offences and are due to appear in court.

Watkinson’s death ‘not suspicious’

A spokesperson for the Met said:

“Met officers attended an address in Buckinghamshire on the afternoon of Thursday, 12 January following welfare concerns and found the body of man in his 40s.

“While Thames Valley Police are dealing with this matter, we can confirm the man was a serving Met officer, based at the West Area Command Unit.”

Officially, the police are describing the death as unexplained and further tests are being carried out to establish the cause of death.

The West Area Basic Command Unit covers Ealing, Hillingdon and Hounslow and Chief Inspector Watkinson often served as its public face, fronting up press conferences and attending public meetings.

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