Cumbria

Dale Burns inquest: Bodybuilder 'Tasered four times'

Dale Burns
Image caption Mr Burns died in August 2011

A bodybuilder who died hours after being arrested was Tasered by police four times in less than a minute, an inquest heard.

Dale Burns, 27, died in hospital after police were called to his flat in Barrow, Cumbria, in August 2011.

Mr Burns was undressed and under the influence of illegal drugs when officers arrived, jurors at Kendal County Hall were told.

Up to 50 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the two-week hearing.

'Wild-eyed'

Mr Burns was repeatedly hit "without warning" by the electric shock gun and pepper-sprayed in the face as officers tried to hold him with handcuff and leg restraints, the inquest heard.

Alan Sharp, the deputy coroner for South and East Cumbria, told the jury of five women and six men they may have to see distressing CCTV footage of a "wild-eyed, semi-naked and agitated" Mr Burns after his arrest for criminal damage.

Mr Sharp said: "It is very distressing. It lasts about 10 minutes."

The father-of-two, described at the hearing as a "gentle giant", died at Furness General Hospital about two hours after police were called to his flat.

A neighbour living below Mr Burns reported water leaking through her ceiling.

Police were called after the landlord's agent broke into the property and found the former nightclub doorman "possibly self-harming".

Six officers arrived and found Mr Burns sweating, very agitated, with dilated pupils and his eyes rolling in the back of his head.

Fists clenched

Jurors were told how Mr Burns explained to police how he had taken a "gram of Madcat", a drug believed to be MDPV, or methylenedioxypyrovalerone, but refused treatment when paramedics were called.

He was told he would be arrested for criminal damage as the bathroom toilet, extractor fan and light fitting were broken, but became aggressive and approached one of the officers with his fists clenched.

Image caption Mr Burn was carried down three flights of stairs at his home in Hartington Street

Mr Burns was Tasered four times before officers managed to get handcuffs and leg restraints on him and decided to carry him down three flights of stairs before taking him to hospital.

"During all this time Dale was said to be struggling violently with the officers," Mr Sharp said.

Jurors heard how Mr Burns calmed down after he was given diazepam by doctors, but he then suffered a seizure followed by a heart attack.

Despite hospital staff and a police officer giving CPR for 40 minutes, he was pronounced dead at 20:41 BST.

A post-mortem examination revealed there was no abnormality of Mr Burns's heart but there were traces of MDPV in his blood.

Mr Burns' death is also the subject of a separate inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The inquest continues.

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