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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Father's drugs plea after Barrow dad's inquest

THE father of Barrow dad Dale Burns has made a plea for people to be aware of the dangers of designer drugs following an inquest into his son's death.

The inquest into the death of Dale Burns, 27, has been running in Kendal since January. 

Today the jury reached the verdict that Mr Burns died from taking the drug MDPV and his struggle with police was not a contributory cause of his death. 

The jury judged the use of force by police to restrain Mr Burns was appropriate. 

They said the following was an accurate description of the circumstances of his death: 

"Dale Burns died at Furness General Hospital on 16 August 2011 at 20.41. Earlier that day he had taken a substance containing the drug MDPV which had had a severe effect on him. Police attended his home address from 18.37 in response to a 999 call that Mr Burns may be self-harming and that water was pouring though the ceiling of the address below. At 18.50, Taser was deployed on four occasions and PAVA spray was discharged against him by officers. Mr Burns was restrained. He was taken to hospital by police van, arriving there at 19.15. Despite medical attention, he suffered a cardiac arrest at 20.14 and could not be resuscitated."

After the hearing Mr Burns' father David, 52, who has attended every day of the inquest and represented himself, thanked the coroner and his team for investigating the death. 

He also thanked the staff at FGH who tried to save Mr Burns' life. 

He said: "My son Dale was a lovely, popular man who was well liked by all who knew him. He was also a great dad to his two children Ethan and Honor. 

"Unfortunately, many young people in today's society who use these so-called legal highs do not realise the long-term health implications, or the highly toxic content that can lead to this fatal outcome. 

"Although there is very little information about these variants of these drugs, the medical services are discovering more and more of the unpleasant side effects - unfortunately through more and more people being admitted to hospitals, A&E departments and fatalities through the use of these drugs. 

"If nothing else, we can at least hope that this inquest has shown how these modern designer drugs such as madcat, madcap, plantfood, bath salts, and ivory wave, can be lethal and without doubt ruin people's lives. 

"We also hope that this inquest and Dale's death has also shown that there are some areas in the police training and protocols that need to be adapted to have a better understanding to dealing with people who are highly intoxicated. 

"Unfortunately none of this will bring Dale back, but if it stops anymore people from dying in this way then all this time and effort that has gone into this hearing will have been worth it, and will also provide much needed information and understanding of these modern designer drugs."

Superintendent Mark Pannone, South area Commander, said at the close of the inquest: “The last few weeks have been extremely difficult for all involved and our thoughts and condolences continue to be with Dale Burns’ family and friends.

“Today’s verdict, delivered by the Jury confirmed that the action police took on 16 August 2011 did not contribute to Dale Burns’ death. He died as a result of MDPV toxicity.

“The Jury found that Dale Burn’s struggle against restraints was not a contributory cause to his death.

“The Jury found that the actions of the police which lead to Dale Burns having to be restrained were appropriate in the circumstances.

“The inquest has heard detailed accounts from a range of witnesses over the last two and a half weeks including family members, police officers, medical staff, witnesses and expert witnesses, who all provided an insight into the last few hours of Dale Burns’ life.

“This whole process has been very distressing and along with Dale’s family and friends, my thoughts have also been with the police officers involved in the incident that day. They have had every aspect of their response scrutinised at the highest possible level, and it is reassuring to hear experts confirm that police officers could not have done anything differently to prevent Dale’s death and that they were not in any way responsible.

“Despite newspaper headlines at the time of Mr Burns’ tragic death, detailed evidence from expert witnesses at this Inquest has proved that Mr Burns’ death was not caused by police use of Taser.

“This Inquest has illustrated the challenges police officers face on a daily basis, especially when they are confronted by people who are under the influence of so called "designer" drugs who display what one of the experts described as "superhuman" strength. The evidence at the inquest highlighted the dangers of MDPV, which is a Class B drug also known as MCAT, MADCAT, Plant Food and Ivory Wave. These are not “safe” drugs. For Mr Burns, MDPV was lethal.

“I also welcome the findings of the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission which has stated that Cumbria Constabulary officers acted correctly in their handling of the incident involving Dale Burns on the 16th August 2011.

“Cumbria Constabulary representatives listened with care to the evidence heard at the inquest and, in addition to any recommendations the Coroner may choose to make in relation to the policies, procedures or training by Cumbria Constabulary, we will ensure that any other lessons learned from this experience are addressed.

“We hope that his family and friends are able to find some closure now that the inquest has come to an end.”

* For the full story pick up a copy of Friday's Evening Mail. 

 

Have your say

The man had a long history of abusing illegal and then so called 'legal highs' and died because of that. The medical facts are that the taser did not kill him the drugs did......it's very sad indeed and I feel for his family and friends but stop look for fault in the authorities....the inquest was transparent and all the facts know, stop spinning the truth

Posted by E on 15 February 2013 at 11:44

A very sad case of a young life lost for no reason. The media would do better to label this muck "Knocked up in a filthy garage in Amsterdam" rather than "Designer Drugs". It conveys the image of coolness and acceptability, when it is so far from that, and it has cost this poor family their loved one.

Posted by Patience of Job on 11 February 2013 at 15:02

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