Richard Scatchard is still wanted after Kelly Faiers died in Minehead in October.
The family of a woman who died at the home of a “dangerous” sex offender have said there were “big mistakes from the get-go” in the police investigation.
Kelly Faiers, 61, met Richard Scatchard on a dating app. He went missing the day after her death on 15 October in Minehead. He is still wanted by police.
Her children said they feel “angry and let down” that he was not properly questioned immediately after her death.
Police said they were assisting with a watchdog investigation into the case.
Kelly was found “critically ill” by paramedics after Scatchard called the ambulance to his home in Blenheim Road. She was pronounced deceased by medics at the house.
Avon and Somerset Police were called in the early hours of the morning where they spoke to Scatchard. The following afternoon officers wanted to ask him more questions and went to the house but found it empty.
A post-mortem examination carried out shortly after her death proved inconclusive, police said in November.
A spokesman added: “The circumstances behind Kelly’s death are still unclear despite further test results, but it continues to be treated as suspicious.”
Since Scatchard went missing, there have been more than 90 possible sightings, but police have been unable to locate him.
The force has now referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC), after a formal complaint made by Kelly’s family who said they are “disappointed” and have not been kept updated on developments.
“We were annoyed that we weren’t told the second they realised it was suspicious,” said Jazz Faiers, 27.
She also said she was then put at risk for four days, whilst living at her mum’s address in Weston-Super-Mare – as Scatchard had been to the house a number of times previously.
Police initially put out a missing appeal, with concerns for his welfare. They did not tell the public that Scatchard was a convicted sex offender.
A few days later this was changed to a wanted appeal and he was declared a danger to women.
Kelly’s children said they were told he had a criminal background, but were not given the details by the police.
“When they released his surname I was at work. I saw it on Facebook and started googling his name. That’s how we found out about Richard Scatchard’s convictions as a sex offender,” Jazz said.
Mike Faiers, 25, added it was “shocking and upsetting” to find out this way, and that neither they or their mum had any idea of his past.
‘Struggling to move on’
In 2000, Scatchard was convicted of drugging women and sexually assaulting them. He went to prison and was released in 2013, initially into the Cheshire area, and he then moved to Minehead in September 2020.
The police said he is a regular user of dating apps, which is how he met Kelly in 2022.
Describing her mum, Jazz said she was “very loving, trusting, happy… and always smiling”.
Mike said: “We’ve had the funeral now, but you go from the funeral back to searching his name. It’s hitting as much as it did from the get go.”
Jazz added: “There’s no closure at the moment – no even half closure – there’s no answers until he is found.”
Avon and Somerset Police said: “Kelly’s death continues to be treated as a murder inquiry at this time. Family liaison officers are in regular contact with her family to keep them updated and to provide support.
“We have made a number of public appeals and a Crimestoppers reward remains live for information that could lead to his arrest.”
Following the complaint by Kelly’s family, it said: “Our Professional Standards Department was made aware of the incident and our response at an early stage and we will assist the Independent Office for Police Conduct in any way we can in relation to the complaint received.”
Police are urging anyone who sees Scatchard not approach him and to instead dial 999.