Richard becomes desperate for money and decides to kill again. His next target is Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire), whose house he had bought. During a birthday party at the Rovers Return pub for Doreen Heavey (Prunella Gee)'s 50th Birthday, Richard leaves the pub, goes to the squat where Sarah's tearaway boyfriend Aidan Critchley is staying and since he drugged him he is able to take and use Critchley's coat and shoes without him waking up. Disguised as Critchley, he enters Doreen's daughter Maxine Peacock's (Tracy Shaw) house where Emily is babysitting. Richard attacks Emily with a crowbar but he is interrupted when Maxine enters the house and confronts him. Richard then kills Maxine and stages a robbery to frame Aiden, who is subsequently charged with murder and attempted murder. Soon afterwards, Richard receives a phone call that a woman who had sold her home to Richard in a buy-back scheme had died a week prior. He is wracked with guilt, realising that the attempt on Emily's life and Maxine's murder had been pointless.
Richard makes his first appearance when he attends Alma Baldwin's (Amanda Barrie) funeral in summer 2001, claiming to be her cousin. He quickly befriends Gail Platt, eventually forming a romantic relationship with her. Richard moves in with her, winning over her children Sarah-Louise (Tina O'Brien) and David (Jack P. Shepherd) by buying them expensive gifts. Gail's marriage to Martin Platt (Sean Wilson) had collapsed the previous year.
In January 2002, it was rumored that Coronation Street executive Producer Carolyn Reynolds would be axing a number of characters in a bid for the show to beat BBC One soap opera EastEnders in the ratings. Characters that were rumored to be axed were Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) and sons Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas), Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley), Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin), Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay) as well as Richard. A source commented: "It’s Carolyn ‘Chainsaw’ Reynolds from here on in. There’s that much chopping to do that if she used an axe it would take forever. The former Producer Brian Park chopped his way through nine characters, but Carolyn is close to knocking off a dozen. It hasn’t done much for cast morale. Only last year the top earners had to sign up for pay cuts or face the chop themselves. "New "strong" characters will be brought in over the coming months, but the number will be limited in order to keep the wage bill down." These rumors were later proved to be false.
At the 2003 British Soap Awards, Capron swept the board for his portrayal of Richard, winning for 'Best Actor', 'Best Exit' and 'Villain of the Year'. His confessions episode was voted 'Most Spectacular Scene' and his murders were voted 'Best Storyline'.
Asked how are people reacting to the storyline Brian Capron said in an interview with Digital Spy: "It’s great, it really seems to be capturing people’s imaginations. Everyone just wants to know what he’s going to do next and if he’ll kill Gail. I don’t know what the Writers have got planned for Richard but he’s definitely not finished yet I can promise that. I think he’ll be homing in on one or two of the street’s best-loved residents. He’s definitely going to get nastier before he gets his comeuppance".