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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Expert backs Taser safety record at Barrow dad’s inquest

TASERS have been shown to be remarkably safe, an expert told the inquest into the death of a dad who died after one of the weapons was used on him.

Dale Burns, 27, was tasered four times in less than a minute before dying in Furness General Hospital on August 16, 2011.

The bodybuilder – who had taken a drug called “madcat” – was tasered by a police officer at his flat in Hartington Street, Barrow.

Mr Burns was then driven in the back of a police van to FGH where he went into cardiac arrest and died.

Yesterday, Professor Rod Flower, chair of the government’s science advisory committee on the medical implications of less lethal weapons, said there was little evidence of a direct link between cardiac problems and Tasers.

“(Tasers) have been fired thousands of times in the UK and there are only four accounts of deaths associated with them,” he said.

Prof Flower said these deaths had not been shown to be directly caused by Tasers, with one person dying due to self-inflicted wounds and another due to a history of heart problems.

Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, of West Mercia police, who leads the working group on Tasers for the Association of Chief Police Officers, told the inquest shocking people multiple times “should be avoided” but was lawful if justified.

The inquest has heard the officer who tasered Mr Burns did not give him a warning. DCC Chesterman said although people should be warned if at all possible, sometimes “there just isn’t time”.

Mr David Lock, representing Mr Burns’ two children Ethan, three, and Honor, five, put it to DCC Chesterman that one of the options open to police had been to leave Mr Burns alone.

DCC Chesterman replied: “Those officers could have turned around and left him and he could have come to harm and we could be sitting here having an inquest about the police walking away and leaving him,” he said.

The inquest, which is being held in the County Hall, Kendal, is expected to finish next month.

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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