A former Lynn police officer who was found dead at his home had been due to be charged with nine sex offences on the day of his death, it has been revealed today, Thursday.
Gareth Gricks, 53, had spent most of his career, spanning nearly 20 years, as a police constable working in the town, most recently at the Saddlebow police investigation centre, before he was sacked for gross misconduct in July.
Police chiefs have now disclosed that he was to have faced three charges of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, one of making indecent images of children and five of sexual assault on a woman.
However, on the day he was due to be charged, August 6, he was found hanging at his home in Dunton, near Fakenham, by a relative. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Temporary assistant chief constable Nick Dean said that the criminal investigation against Mr Gricks had effectively ended when he died.
It is understood that Mr Gricks’ family were only told of the full extent of the allegations against him in the past few days.
He added: “In recognition of his role and the serious nature of the offences he was due to face, it is right and proper that this information is placed in the public domain, not only to demonstrate police action, but also to give victims of sexual abuse a voice when this cannot be achieved through the judicial process.”
The child sex offences are alleged to have been committed between 2011 and earlier this year and involved the incitement of girls in south-east Asia, thought to be aged between 10 and 16, to commit sexual acts online.
Although it is believed that Mr Gricks had visited Thailand in the past, there is no evidence to suggest that he had had any physical contact with a child or was part of a wider paedophile ring.
However, around 100 indecent images of children, mostly at the lower end of the Copine scale which measures such material, were found on his personal computer. There is no suggestion any offences were committed on duty or using police equipment.
The sexual assault claims date from between 2003 and 2008 and relate to an adult woman in Britain. Police said there is no record of Mr Gricks committing any offences against children in this country.
An investigation into Mr Gricks was launched by the force’s professional standards department in April this year after they had received a tip-off about his alleged involvement in internet child abuse.
He was arrested in early May on suspicion of those offences before being arrested again later on the sexual assault allegations.
Mr Gricks had been out of the country on holiday at the time the information was received and was arrested at his home on his return.
He was dismissed on July 15, ending a 19-and-a-half year career which was spent mostly in the Lynn area.
An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned. It is thought a full hearing will take place later in the year.