Death of ex-Royal Marine charged with spying for China not suspicious, police say

Police are not treating the death of a former Royal Marine accused of assisting the Hong Kong intelligence service as suspicious.

Immigration enforcement officer Matthew Trickett, 37, was found dead after being bailed from Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week, alongside Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, 38, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63.

His body was discovered in Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, at around 5.15pm on Sunday after a report from a member of the public, officers said on Tuesday.

Mr Trickett was found dead in a Maidenhead park (PA Wire)
Mr Trickett was found dead in a Maidenhead park (PA Wire)

A Thames Valley police spokesman said: “On Wednesday a Home Office post-mortem was completed on behalf of His Majesty’s Coroner.

“As a result of this and further enquiries conducted by detectives, we can confirm the death is not being treated as suspicious. Thames Valley Police is now preparing a file for the Coronial process.

“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.”

Previously his family said: “We’re mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother and family man.”

Mr Trickett’s solicitor Julian Hayes, senior partner at Berris Law, said: “We are naturally shocked at this news and supporting his family as best we can.”

A local resident said the popular park, which is located close to Maidenhead railway station in Berkshire, was busy on Sunday.

Tatiana Dioniseva, 30, said: “There were so many people here – there were children everywhere. It was a bit bizarre because it was sunny – there were children about and then a crime scene over there.”

Prosecutor Kashif Malik said during last week’s hearing that Mr Trickett had attempted suicide after being charged, and had asked for the defendant to be remanded in custody for his own welfare.

Mr Trickett was charged with offences under the National Security Act (PA Archive)
Mr Trickett was charged with offences under the National Security Act (PA Archive)

Mr Trickett was formerly employed by the UK Border Force at Heathrow Airport, before joining Home Office immigration enforcement on 21 February 2024, and was previously a Royal Commando in the Marines for six years. He was also the director of MTR Consultancy, a security firm formed in April 2021.

Mr Wai works as a Border Force officer at Heathrow airport and Mr Yuen is employed as a Hong Kong trade official based in London.

The charges alleged that between 20 December 2023 and 2 May 2024, the trio agreed to undertake information gathering, surveillance and acts of deception that were likely to materially assist a foreign intelligence service.

It is also alleged that on 1 May 2024 they forced entry into a UK residential address, being reckless as to whether the prohibited conduct, or course of conduct of which it forms part, would have an interference effect.

They were charged with the offences under the National Security Act following an investigation by the Met’s counterterrorism command that saw a total of 11 people arrested.

They had all been bailed and were next due to appear at the Old Bailey on Friday.

In March, the government accused China of conducting a cyber espionage campaign against politicians and the Electoral Commission.

China’s UK embassy spokesperson previously said: “For some time now, the UK has staged a series of accusations against China, including those on ‘China spies’ and cyberattacks. All those accusations are groundless and slanderous.”

Following Mr Trickett’s death, a mandatory referral was made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct as he was regularly registering at a police station while on bail, with the matter now passed to Thames Valley Police’s Professional Standards Department to investigate.

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