Matthew Trickett: Former Royal Marine accused of spying for Hong Kong intelligence service found dead in park

A former Royal Marine accused of spying for Hong Kong's intelligence service has died in unexplained circumstances in a park in Berkshire.

Matthew Trickett, 37, was charged with offences under the National Security Act earlier this month.

His family said in a statement: "We are mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother and family member."

They also appealed for privacy "at this difficult time".

Thames Valley Police said officers were called to Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, at around 5.15pm on Sunday following a report from a member of the public.

The force said in a statement: "Officers attended the scene and found a man. Emergency treatment was commenced but sadly the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

"An investigation is ongoing into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.

The force added that a post-mortem would be conducted in "due course".

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Trickett was charged alongside Chi (Peter) Leung Wai, 38, from Staines, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63, from Hackney, east London, with assisting a foreign intelligence service, contrary to the National Security Act, and with foreign interference, contrary to the National Security Act.

"The foreign intelligence service to which the charges relate is that of Hong Kong," the Metropolitan Police said at the time.

At the time, police said that while the alleged offences were "concerning", there was not believed to be any wider threat to the public.

It was alleged that between 20 December and 2 May, the trio agreed to undertake information gathering, surveillance and acts of deception that were likely to materially assist a foreign intelligence service.

They were also accused of forcing entry to a UK residential address on 1 May.

Trickett and his co-defendants appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 13 May, where they spoke only to confirm their names.

They were then released on bail and were next due to appear at the Old Bailey in London on Friday.

Prosecutor Kashif Malik said during last week's hearing that Trickett had attempted to take his own life after being charged and asked for him to be remanded in custody for his own welfare.

Case referred to police watchdog

Thames Valley Police said Trickett's case had been referred to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), because he had been "on court bail, awaiting court proceedings, which required him to register at a police station regularly".

The force said a referral was "normal in such circumstances where there has been a death following police contact".

It added: "The IOPC have assessed that referral and decided that the matter should be investigated by Thames Valley Police's Professional Standards Department."

Trickett's solicitor Julian Hayes, a senior partner at Berris Law, said: "It has sadly been confirmed by Thames Valley Police, that the body found... was that of our client.

"We are naturally shocked at this news and supporting his family as best we can."

Mr Hayes added: "Following a mandatory referral [to] the Independent Office for Police Conduct, due to the prior contact with police, the matter has now been passed on to Thames Valley Police's Professional Standards Department.

"It would therefore not be appropriate for us or the family to comment any further at this stage."

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

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