POLICE are continuing to search for a sex offender amid an ongoing a murder investigation.

Former Cheshire resident Richard Scatchard is wanted by Avon and Somerset Police after the body of a woman was found in his home more than two weeks ago.

Scatchard, once of Wilmslow Crescent in Thelwall, was convicted at then-Warrington Crown Court in 2000 when he admitted to three charges of drugging his victims, two charges of indecent assault, one attempted rape, one charge of theft and one charge of burglary.

Police say he now poses a serious risk to the women he forms relationships with and is a risk to the public.

Senior investigating officer, detective chief inspector Jess Aston said: “As we have previously stated, Scatchard is a prolific user of dating apps and a number of years ago was convicted of sexual offences in which he administered drugs to his victims to enable his crimes.

“We have a number of hypotheses about what has happened to Scatchard but remain anxious given the risk he poses he could have formed a new relationship with one or more women.

“It is also possible he may be trying to avoid being seen by anyone given the publicity about this investigation and therefore would encourage anyone to contact us if they have an outbuilding or a remote building that looks like it may have been accessed by someone.”

Northwich Guardian: Photos of Scatchard shared by Avon and Somerset PolicePhotos of Scatchard shared by Avon and Somerset Police (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)

There have been 55 reported sightings of Scatchard since police first launched their appeal on October 19,  with officers analysing CCTV and speaking to people who reported the sightings to see if it is him.

Avon and Somerset Police have also issued a new photo of him, taken earlier this year.

He is wanted on recall to prison as well as for questioning after the body of Kelly Faiers, 61, was found at his home in Minehead on October 15.

A forensic, post-mortem examination to determine the cause of her death was inconclusive but it is currently being treated as suspicious while detectives await the results of further tests.

Ms Aston continued: “Many of these as yet unconfirmed sightings have been in Minehead or in the surrounding areas and extensive searches by officers are taking place in those areas.

“We are also working with other police forces across the country too. We know he has recent links to the Cornwall, Gwent and South Wales while previous links include the Cheshire and Leicestershire areas.

“Our absolute priority remains to locate Scatchard and see if he can assist with our inquiries.

“Richard, if you see this, it is not too late to do the right thing and hand yourself in.”

The last confirmed sighting of him was on Blenheim Road in Minehead at 10am on October 16.

Scatchard is described as being white, about 5ft 11ins, of average build with short grey hair. He speaks with a Scottish accent and has previously claimed to be called Richard Dunlop.

There is a chance he may appear dishevelled given the amount of time since his last sighting.

The police said they received information early on that Scatchard may be on a grey Gepida Alboin Curve electric bike, but now believe he could have a normal push bike instead.

Anyone who sees Scatchard is asked to ring 999, with the reference 5223259285. People can also provide information by calling 101, or by submitting it through the force’s website.