Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Former Royal Marine charged with spying for China found dead

(The Telegraph) A former Royal Marine who was charged with spying on Hong Kong activists in the UK has been found dead in England.

Matthew Trickett, 37, who was awaiting trial, was found dead in Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, on Sunday at 5.15 pm.

Thames Valley police said an investigation was ongoing into his death, which was being treated as unexplained.

It comes after Trickett appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court last Monday alongside co-defendants Chi Leung Wai, 38, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63.

The three were accused of carrying out surveillance on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists living in the UK.

After his appearance, Trickett was filmed sprinting away from court with his hands covering his face with several photographers in tow.

While he was on bail, he was in contact with Thames Valley Police as he was required to register at a police station regularly.

Because of this contact before his death, the force has referred itself to the policing watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The IOPC has decided the matter should be investigated by Thames Valley Police’s Professional Standards Department.

Trickett’s family said in a statement: “We are mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother, and family member. We would be grateful if the press would respect our privacy at this difficult time and refrain from intruding on our grief.”

Julian Hayes, Trickett’s solicitor and a senior partner at Berris Law, said: “It has sadly been confirmed by Thames Valley police that the body found in Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, on Sunday was that of our client Matthew Trickett. We are naturally shocked at this news and supporting his family as best we can. The death is currently being treated as unexplained by the police and further investigations are still ongoing.

“We ask that the media please respect the family’s wishes of privacy at this difficult time and refrain from speculating ahead of any findings.”

Trickett was formerly employed by the UK Border Force at Heathrow before joining Home Office Immigration Enforcement in February this year.

He was also listed as the sole director of MTR Consultancy, which he founded in 2021, and he described himself as a security consultant.

A neighbour described him as “nice and polite” and said he was “out of the country more than he was in it”. The neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said that police had raided Trickett’s flat on May 2, with officers breaking down the door with a battering ram.

China, through its London embassy, said: “We strongly condemn the UK’s unwarranted accusation against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.”

At court last Monday, the men had been released on bail after District Judge Louisa Cieciora said they must abide by a 10 pm to 5 am curfew, report weekly to police, not travel abroad, and inform police of devices used to access the internet.

Seven other men and a woman arrested in raids in Yorkshire and London were released without charge.



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