Hotpot drummer in child sex probe

INQUIRY: Tom McGrath, aka Willie Eckerslike

INQUIRY: Tom McGrath, aka Willie Eckerslike

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A drummer in popular comedy band Lancashire Hotpots who was found dead at his home was under investigation for a serious sexual crime, it has been revealed.

Tom McGrath, known as Willie Eckerslike in the band, was arrested on April 27 on suspicion of inciting children to commit sexual activities.

His computer and mobile phone had been seized by detectives as part of the probe.

He had been suspended from his job as a music technology lecturer at St Helens College, although the allegations are not believed to be connected to the college.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “Merseyside Police can confirm a 38-year-old man found dead at his home in Nutgrove was under investigation for inciting children to commit sexual activities.”

He was on police bail at the time of his death.

The 38-year-old, who was raised in Burtonwood near Warrington, leaves a young son with his girlfriend. An inquest into his death was being opened by a coroner at Whiston Hospital in St Helens today.

In a statement, the St Helens-based band said: “The sudden death of a friend is never easy to comprehend, when it’s someone who has profoundly affected your life since the minute you met him, then it hits you all the harder. Our thoughts are understandably with his family at this incredibly difficult time.

“What has been some comfort is the sheer number of friends and colleagues we have met and spoken to today who are just as shocked and upset as we are. Nothing else is pretty much in our thoughts at the moment, nor should it be.”

The band are popular across the country, with a strong following among students.

Their first album, Never Mind the Hotpots, was an internet smash. The band regularly played UCLan’s 53 Degrees and were a highlight at Preston’s Rock in the Park.