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Friday, 01 August 2014

Jury told that Taser not linked to death

OF all the experts who have appeared at the inquest for Dale Burns, perhaps one of the most key was Home Office pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd.

Dr Shepherd, who has worked on high-profile cases such as the death of Princess Diana and government scientist Dr David Kelly, was unequivocal in saying the Taser played no part in Mr Burns’ death.

“There is no link between the use of the Taser and the death of Dale Burns,” he told the hearing.

He said he could find “no other reason” for Mr Burns’ death than his taking the drug MDPV, which can lead to heart problems. Although the restraint by police may have added to the overall stress Mr Burns experienced, it was the drug above all that triggered his cardiac arrest, Dr Shepherd said.

Despite this there are plenty of questions left to answer and it is the jury, not Dr Shepherd, who will deliver the final verdict on Mr Burns’ death and the emergency services' dealings with him.

The inquest has heard how after police were called to Mr Burns’ Hartington Street flat on August 16, 2011, he told them he had taken a gram of a drug he called “madcat” – which was made from the compound MDPV – and was showing many of the signs of a condition called “excited delirium”.

As well as giving people “superhuman” strength, excited delirium also makes them prone to heart problems and police are advised to treat those in this condition as a medical emergency. However, the police involved had never been specifically trained in dealing with this issue.

Although an ambulance was called, the staff left the scene after being told it was too dangerous to approach him. North West Ambulance Service technician Gavin McNamee said an officer told them they were "not required".

Once Mr Burns had been taken to Furness General Hospital and went into cardiac arrest, staff ceased giving him CPR and pronounced him dead after about 25 minutes. On Tuesday the inquest heard this was contrary to advice given by the national poisons database Toxbase, which says resuscitation for people who have taken MDPV should continue for at least an hour. However, it has subsequently emerged that this advice was only published in May 2012, some months after Mr Burns' death .

Two of the main issues that the jury has been left to consider after last week's evidence are:

Why did ambulance staff not stay and see if he could be treated?

Why had Cumbria police not had more specific training in dealing with people in a state of “excited delirium”?

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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