Two retired Metropolitan Police officers accused of being part of a pedophile ring with an acting chief inspector, who was later found dead in his home, appeared in court.
Former Met officers Jack Addis, 63, of Perthshire, Scotland, and Jeremy Laxton, 62, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, are charged with conspiracy to distribute or display indecent images of children between January 2018 and July of 2021.
The couple’s court appearance comes after their co-defendant, Richard Watkinson, 49, was found dead in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire, on January 12, the day he was due to appear in court for alleged sexual offences. against minors.
Laxton and Addis were arrested and charged following a “long and complex” investigation into Watkinson, who was the Met’s neighborhood police chief inspector in the West Area Command Unit.
Laxton arrived at Southwark Crown Court wearing a gray suit and red scarf. While his co-defendant, Addis, appeared via video link in a red jumper for the hearing.
Jeremy Laxton, 62, of Grantham, Lincolnshire, is charged with conspiracy to distribute or display indecent images of children between January 2018 and July 2021. He arrived at Southwick Crown Court for a hearing on Thursday morning.
Laxton, pictured left in a court sketch, appeared in person at Southwick Crown Court while his co-defendant Jack Addis, 63, of Perthshire, Scotland, attended the hearing via link Of video.
Laxton is also charged with three counts of taking indecent photographs of a child, one count of possession of a prohibited image, one count of possession of an extreme pornographic image, one count of intentionally encouraging or assisting in the commission of a crime, and one count of possession. a controlled class B drug. These crimes are said to have taken place on or before September 1, 2021.
Laxton was arrested in September 2021, while Addis was arrested two months later as part of the multi-force investigation. Both left the Met more than a decade ago.
Prosecutor Edward Franklin previously said: “Police found indecent images of children on various devices.
The Metropolitan Police investigation found a large number of category A images, still and moving, which might be better described at the high end of category A.
“Officers found a hard drive, and that is the focus of the conspiracy charge where the three defendants brought material to share it.”
Met officials found Watkinson’s body after he attended the address in Saunderton, Princes Risborough, following welfare concerns on January 12. He had been suspended from his duties following his arrest in July 2021.
The body of Richard Watkinson, 49, was found at his home after he failed to report to a police station the morning he was due to be charged.
The Met was facing protection questions after it was revealed that the 49-year-old was a senior officer in its West Area Basic Command unit, where he was the neighborhood school portfolio leader.
Thames Valley Police have taken over the investigation into the case and are treating the death as unexplained but not suspicious.
Earlier, Commander Jon Savell, of the Professional Standards Directorate, said: “Chief Inspector Watkinson was facing extremely serious and concerning charges, the result of a thorough and exhaustive police investigation.
“Before this matter came to light, we had no prior information regarding these allegations or to indicate that the officer posed any risk to the public.
“He had not faced any other criminal or conduct matter 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 move through the courts.”
Laxton and Addis were due to enter formal statements today, but the hearing was adjourned to May 25.