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Richard John Fletcher

Principal Associate
Investigator Dr Richard John Fletcher

Richard started his scientific career undertaking two six-month industrial placements during his third year of his Applied Chemistry degree at the University of Portsmouth. The first six months were spent working in the Chemistry Section of the Naval Aircraft Materials Laboratory (NAML) where he undertook a wide range of analytical work as well as being involved in investigating mid-air collisions of MOD aircraft. The second six months were spent working in the fuel additive section of Nalco Exxon Energy Chemicals, based at Fawley Oil refinery. He was responsible for testing and identifying the fuel additives for multi-national petroleum companies and the development of new additives. After completing his degree, Richard continued to study at the University of Portsmouth for his PhD, researching the effect of magnetic fields on the growth of sulphate reducing bacteria.

After leaving University Richard worked for a Dorset based electronic and materials development company. He worked on projects to develop both corrosion monitoring equipment for helicopters, as well as crack detection systems for the rail industry. During his time at the company he worked within a team to investigate the cause of a major UK rail incident.
In 2006 Richard joined Hawkins and quickly specialised himself in the discipline of fire investigation. He has since carried out over 1000 investigations related to fires and explosions, ranging in scale from small domestic incidents to multi-million pound losses at commercial and industrial premises, as well as investigating fires involving motor cars, HGVs and plant equipment. He developed and applied a novel approach to presenting crucial witness evidence; related to a multi-million pound fire loss at a large industrial site. Richard has a particular interest in fires, incidents and personal injuries involving fireworks as well as other type of pyrotechnic and explosive devices.
Richard is experienced in the legal process and preparation of CPR 35 complaint reports. He has attended arbitrations and given evidence as an expert witness in Court.

Since joining Hawkins, Richard has undertaken the BOHS P100 Asbestos Survey course, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Level 2 Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety, the Bond Solon Expert Witness Familiarisation course and Confined Space Training. Richard is a member of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians, having completed the ASP Practical Pyrotechnics Safety Awareness Course and also more recently completed the Institute of Explosive Engineers, Explosives Safety & Handling Part 1 training. Richard has attended UK-AFI Training Conferences and presented to insurance forums and loss adjusters.

Richard is a Principal Associate and is based in Hawkins’ Birmingham Office.


BSc (Hons) Applied Chemistry
PhD Influence of oscillating magnetic fields on microbial growth and corrosion
MRSC Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry

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We are all probably very familiar with fireworks, especially the type commonly used in gardens on Bonfire Night, or those seen when watching professional displays at weddings and other celebrations. These types of fireworks are classified F1 to F4 in “The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015,” covering all the types of fireworks from hand-held sparklers to the largest display shells used by professionals.

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