UK

Two retired Met Police officers charged over child sex abuse images

Two retired Metropolitan Police officers have been charged with offences related to the possession of images showing child sex abuse as part of an investigation into a serving chief inspector who was found dead before he was charged.

Jack Addis, 63, of no fixed address and Jeremy Laxton, 62, from Lincolnshire, will appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on 9 February.

Both left the Metropolitan Police more than a decade ago.

Addis is charged with conspiracy to distribute or show indecent images of children.

Laxton is 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).

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

Laxton was arrested in September 2021 and Addis in November 2021.

More on Metropolitan Police

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.

Watkinson was found dead in Buckinghamshire on 12 January, the 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.

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

Commander Jon Savell, in charge of the Met’s professional standards team, 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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