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Friday, 03 July 2015

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Inquest jury rules dad-of-two was killed by designer drug

A DESIGNER drug led to the death of a dad-of-two, an inquest ruled.

TRAGIC SCENE Police outside the home of Dale Burns, left, who died hours after police deployed tasers during a disturbance at his home in Hartington Street, Barrow. Inset, Mr Burns’ dad, David

Taxi driver Dale Burns, 27, died on August 16, 2011, after he was tasered four times in the living room of his flat in Hartington Street, Barrow.

A jury yesterday ruled police methods of restraint during his arrest did not play a part in his death. The verdict followed a three-week hearing.

After the conclusion of the inquest, Mr Burns’ father David, 52, thanked the coroner and his team for investigating the death.

He also thanked the staff at Furness General Hospital 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.

“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 any more people from dying in this way then all this time and effort that has gone into this hearing will have been worth it.”

The jury heard Dale Burns had taken the drug MDPV when officers were called to his address shortly after 6.30pm that day.

He was tasered four times by an officer who said he feared Mr Burns would become violent, then restrained before being carried to a police van and driven to Furness General Hospital.

After arriving at hospital he went into cardiac arrest and died.

After deliberating for almost five hours, the jury found he died from taking MDPV and that his struggle against restraint was not a contributory factor.

The jury found that during his encounter with police, Mr Burns dropped or threw a glass out of the window. When officers moved in to arrest him, he turned towards them and PC Kevin Milby “perceived a threat of violence and discharged the taser,” according to the inquest jury.

The inquest has heard the police officers had not been specifically trained in dealing with people deemed to be in a state of “excited delirium” or “acute behavioural disorder”.

People in this state are prone to go into cardiac arrest.

Mr Burns’ former girlfriends Lisa Wilson, 30, and Sarah Keverne, 33, both from Barrow, said this meant police missed opportunities “to deal with Dale in a non-confrontational way”.

“We remain convinced (this) may have led to a different outcome,” they said in a statement.

Miss Wilson and Miss Keverne are the mothers of Mr Burns’ children Honor, five, and Ethan, three, respectively. “Our main memory of him is as a loving and devoted father,” the statement said.


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