Accused Spy Mysteriously Found Dead in Park Outside London

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A former Royal Marine arrested for allegedly working with the Hong Kong intelligence service was found dead over the weekend, according to U.K. authorities.

Matthew Trickett, 37, was out on bail and awaiting trial when his body was discovered on Sunday evening in a park in Maidenhead, a market town about an hour outside of central London.

His death is being treated as “unexplained,” Thames Valley police said, with an investigation underway and a post-mortem examination to be conducted “in due course.”

In a statement, Trickett’s family said they were 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,” they added.

Trickett was arrested earlier this month as part of a larger operation that saw nine other men and a woman arrested. A neighbor told The Telegraph that police had broken down the door to Trickett’s apartment with a battering ram on May 2. The neighbor added that they’d otherwise known Trickett as a “nice and polite” man, if one who was apparently frequently out of the country.

While seven of the men and the woman were eventually released without being charged, Trickett was charged under the National Security Act for surveilling and harassing Hong Kong pro-democracy activists living in the U.K. Two other detainees, Chung Biu Yuen, 63 and Chi Leung “Peter” Wai, 38, were also charged.

The trio appeared in court for an initial hearing last week, according to The Guardian. None entered a plea. But prosecutors told the court that Trickett had already made threats to take his own life. “He told two separate custody sergeants when he is released he is going to kill himself because ‘he has nothing to live for,’” one explained. “How realistic that is, judge, we don’t know, but that is a concern for us.”

District Judge Louisa Cieciora granted Trickett and his co-defendants bail on the condition they abide by a curfew and report weekly to police. Trickett’s regular contact with the Thames Valley police requires that his death be investigated separately by the Independent Office for Police Conduct under British law.

Trickett was a member of the Marines between 2007 and 2013, according to The Times of London. He previously worked for the U.K. Border Force at Heathrow Airport before joining Home Office Immigration Enforcement earlier this year.

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