Hong Kong spy suspect death not suspicious - police

The death of a former Royal Marine who was charged with assisting the Hong Kong intelligence service is not being treated as suspicious, police have said.

Matthew Trickett, 37, a Home Office immigration officer, appeared in court last week charged under the National Security Act.

He was found by a member of the public in a park in Maidenhead, Berkshire, on Sunday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case against him will be formally discontinued while two co-defendants could face a trial in February, the Old Bailey heard earlier.

A black forensics tent seen in the middle of a park inside an area cordoned off by police tape
Mr Trickett was pronounced dead in a park in Maidenhead on Sunday [PA Media]

The men - Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, 38, of Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey, and Chung Biu (Billy) Yuen, 63, of Hackney, east London - were granted conditional bail after a brief court appearance.

They are accused of agreeing with Mr Trickett to act on behalf of the Hong Kong intelligence service from December 2023 and also of foreign interference by carrying out a break-in at a UK property on 1 May.

Mr Trickett previously appeared alongside the two men before Westminster magistrates on 13 May.

At the hearing, prosecutors asked for him to be remanded in custody for his own welfare after a suicide attempt, but he was granted bail and was found in the park six days later.

Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, Matthew Trickett and Chung Biu (Billy) Yuen
Mr Trickett (centre) appeared in court on 13 May along with Chi Leung (Peter) Wai (left) and Chung Biu (Billy) Yuen (right) [PA Media]

In a statement, Thames Valley Police said a post-mortem examination had revealed no suspicious cause of death.

The force said: "Mr Trickett's family are being supported by specialist officers. Our thoughts remain with them and we would kindly ask that their privacy is respected at this difficult time."

In a previous statement, his family said they were "mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother, and family member".

Mr Trickett served as a Royal Marine for six years and was also the director of a security firm called MTR Consultancy.

China's foreign affairs commissioner in its territory of Hong Kong has accused UK authorities of "cooking up charges" as well as a "vicious intention to interfere" in Hong Kong's affairs.

Algernon Yau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said it was important to "let the public know the truth and prevent unwarranted speculation".

A UK government spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment while the criminal investigation was ongoing.

Follow BBC South on Facebook, X (Twitter), or Instagram. Send your story ideas to south.newsonline@bbc.co.uk or via WhatsApp on 0808 100 2240.

See also

Related links