Two retired Met officers charged with child porn offences after serving chief inspector found dead

Two retired Met Police officers are charged with child porn offences after serving chief inspector was found dead before he could also be charged

  • Two retired Metropolitan Police officers stand charged with child sex offences
  • It follows a ‘complex’ investigation into Chief Inspector Richard Watkinson 
  • Watkinson was found dead on Thursday, January 12, while due to answer bail
  • The Crown Prosecution Service had authorised charges against Watkinson

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have been charged with child sex offences as part of an investigation into a serving Met chief inspector who was found dead before he could also be charged.

In a statement, the Met said the charges followed a ‘lengthy and complex’ investigation into Richard Watkinson, 49, who was a serving Met Chief Inspector for neighbourhoods policing at the West Area Command Unit.

He was found dead in Buckinghamshire on Thursday, January 12, the same day he was due to answer bail to be charged with conspiracy to distribute or show indecent images of children, three counts of making indecent photos of a child, voyeurism and two counts of misconduct in public office.

The Crown Prosecution Service had authorised charges against him.

The body of Richard Watkinson, 49, was found at his home after he failed to report to a police station on the morning he was due to be charged

The body of Richard Watkinson, 49, was found at his home after he failed to report to a police station on the morning he was due to be charged

The Met was facing questions about safeguarding because after it was revealed the 49-year-old was a prominent officer in its west area basic command unit, where he was the schools portfolio lead for neighbourhoods

The Met was facing questions about safeguarding because after it was revealed the 49-year-old was a prominent officer in its west area basic command unit, where he was the schools portfolio lead for neighbourhoods

His death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and an inquest has opened and adjourned.

Met officers found Watkinson’s body having attended the address following welfare concerns.

He had been suspended from duty following his arrest in July 2021.

Jack Addis, 63, of no fixed address but from Perthshire, Scotland, and Jeremy Laxton, 62, from Lincolnshire, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 9.

Addis has been charged with conspiracy to distribute or show indecent images of children. He was arrested in November 2021.

Laxton has been charged with conspiracy to distribute or show indecent images of children, three counts of making indecent photos of a child, possession of prohibited images of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images and intentionally encouraging or assisting an offence (misconduct in public office). He was arrested in September 2021.

They both left the force over a decade ago.

The alleged offences took place between January 1, 2018 and September 20, 2021.

Commander Jon Savell, said: ‘Chief Inspector Watkinson was facing extremely serious and concerning charges, as the result of a painstaking and thorough police investigation.

‘Before this matter came to light, we had no previous information about these allegations or to indicate the officer posed any risk to the public.

‘He had not faced any other criminal or conduct matters during his Met career.

‘He had been suspended from duty since his arrest.

‘Two other men were also arrested during the course of the investigation and have been charged, their matters will now progress through the courts.’

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