A man routinely described as one of the UK’s worst-ever paedophiles has been stabbed to death in his jail cell, a spokesperson from the England and Wales Prison Service has confirmed.
Richard Huckle, 33, is said to have been killed by a fellow inmate using a “makeshift blade” more than three years after he was handed 22 life sentences for raping and sexually assaulting as many as 200 children from mainly disadvantaged communities in Southeast Asia while presenting himself as a Christian doing voluntary work in the region.
A fellow prisoner at HMP Full Sutton, which houses some of the UK’s most violent and dangerous inmates, is reported to have been isolated from other prisoners after Huckle’s blood-stained corpse was discovered slumped lifeless in his cell.
“HMP Full Sutton prisoner Richard Huckle died on 13 October,” a Prison Service spokesperson said.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further while a police investigation is ongoing.”
Police are now preparing to launch a murder investigation.
“Humberside Police are working closely with the Prison Service to investigate the death of an inmate and at this time we are treating the death as suspicious,” a force spokesperson said.
Jailing Huckle in June 2016, Judge Peter Rook QC ordered that he must serve a minimum term of 25 years to reflect “public abhorrence” at his “campaign of rape”, describing a “paedophile manual” Huckle wrote as a “truly evil document”.
Rook told Huckle it was “very rare indeed” that a judge had to sentence sexual offending by one person on such a scale.
During his trial at the Old Bailey in London, the court was told how police investigating Huckle discovered more than 20,000 indecent pictures and videos of his assaults on his computer.
Huckle is said to have attempted to monetise his abuse activity by charging fellow paedophiles for access to his catalogue of abuse material, which investigators discovered after he was arrested when returning to the UK in 2014 following a tip-off from Australian authorities.
After his arrest, investigators from the UK’s National Crime Agency described the scale of Huckle’s offending as “unprecedented and exceptional”.
Responding to concern that Malaysia failed to act on a tip-off about Huckle’s activities in 2014, Khalid Abu Bakar, the country’s police chief, said British detectives had been unable to provide their counterparts in Malaysia with enough information to allow them to investigate the prolific paedophile.
“That was our main obstacle when dealing with European countries because, by law, they are unable to cooperate with us because we carry out capital punishment,” Reuters quoted Khalid as saying.
“Now that this case is over, I hope that the British authorities will no longer hold back any information from us.”