Two retired police officers admit to child porn plot with West London Chief Inspector

 

Images above: Jeremy Laxton, left, and Jack Addis, right, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ch Insp Richard Watkinson to distribute or show indecent images of children

Chief Inspector found dead at his home on the day he was due to be charged

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to conspiring with Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson of the West London Command Unit to distribute or show indecent images of children. Jeremy Laxton and Jack Addis, both 63, will be sentenced at a later date.

Ch Insp Watkinson, 49, was arrested in July 2021 and later found dead on the same day the Metropolitan Police were due to charge him with the conspiracy. His body was found at his home in Buckinghamshire on 12 January.

At the time of his arrest, he had been suspended from duty and was facing charges of making indecent photos of a child, voyeurism, and misconduct in public office.

Laxton, from Linconshire, also confessed to three counts of making indecent photos of a child, possession of prohibited images of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images, intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence of misconduct in a public office, and possession of cannabis.

Addis, of Perthshire, appeared in court via video-link from HMP Dumfries, where he is currently serving an 18-month sentence for three counts of voyeurism and possessing indecent photographs of a child.

During the police investigation a computer hard drive containing thousands of images was discovered. These images included 2,516 images categorised as the most severe Category A, 1,032 images in Category B, and 1,701 images in Category C.

Police colleagues ‘utterly betrayed by their disgusting actions’

According to the charge sheet, these included seven prohibited images of a child and 56 extreme pornographic images depicting a person having sex with an animal.

Judge Tony Baumgartner adjourned sentencing to a date to be fixed, and granted Laxton conditional bail, telling the court:

“A lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable but I will extend bail again to allow him to put his life in order.”

Commander Jon Savell, head of professionalism in the Met Police, said investigators described the content the men had viewed as “some of the most serious that they had ever seen”.

“As a police service we strive to protect the most vulnerable members of society, especially children, and I know officers who served with them will feel utterly betrayed by their disgusting actions.

“We are sickened that they are former colleagues.”

An inquest into Ch Insp Watkinson’s death has been opened and adjourned. The Met said Thames Valley Police were dealing with the case and were so far treating the death as unexplained but not suspicious.