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Grieving family calls for review into police tasers

Grieving family calls for review into police tasers

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:05pm 29th January 2020. (Updated at 4:27pm 29th January 2020)

A grieving family calls for a review into police tasers, after an inquest ruled the use of one 'played a part' in the death of a man from Falmouth.

Police - called to concerns for a person's welfare - found Marc Cole wandering in the street in May 2017.

They say the 30-year-old was carrying a knife and beginning to self-harm.

An inquest jury was told how officers shouted for the dad-of-two to drop the knife and when he did not do so, a taser was discharged three times.

Marc was rushed to hospital where he later died.

The inquest into his death concluded on Tuesday 28th January 2020.

The court heard Mr Cole - who had taken cocaine - was experiencing a mental health crisis precipitated by the death of his father.

A jury found his death was caused by excess use of cocaine resulting in paranoid and erratic behaviour, with the use of a taser 'having more than a trivial impact'.

Marc Cole
A grieving family is calling for a review into the use of police tasers - after the death of a man from Falmouth

Solicitors read statements on behalf of Marc's family outside the hearing, including sister Lisa's calls for a review into the use of tasers.

"The jury have found that the taser had a more than trivial impact on Marc's death. 

"What is needed is an urgent review of police use of taser, considering the lack of robust training in responding to those experiencing mental ill health or intoxication, and the risks associated with repeated and prolonged exposure to Tasering. It is too late for Marc, but we believe this would save lives".

Another, from Marc's partner Nadine Kinder, said: "An inquest is meant to be about truth, but the only truth I remain sure of is that two innocent children were robbed of a life with their dad and me".

She added: "Something needs to be done within the force to ensure that the police understand the ramifications of taser use".

Family Statements

Marc Cole
An inquest ruled that Marc Cole's death was caused by 'excess use of cocaine resulting in paranoid and erratic behaviour, with the use of a taser having more than a trivial impact'.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) carried out an investigation after Marc's death, but found officers' actions did not fall below standard.

"We are aware of the findings of the jury following the inquest of the death of Marc Cole.

"As was made clear in the inquest proceedings, our officers were faced with a unique and incredibly challenging set of circumstances on the night of May 23rd, 2017. 

"They acted to prevent Marc Cole further harming himself in an attempt to save his life, despite perceiving there to be a risk of harm from Mr Cole to both themselves and the public. It is difficult to comprehend the gravity of the situation that PC Wilson and others believed they were faced with at the material time.

"The matter was referred to, and investigated by, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which concluded the performance of our officers did not fall below the standard expected. 

"Our sympathies remain with Mr Cole's family and friends".

Devon and Cornwall Police

The investigation found the officers acted in accordance with legislation, national and local policies, and local training procedures when using force.

“My thoughts are with Mr Cole’s family and friends following his death. This was a traumatic incident for all involved. 

“We found that the officer who used the taser held a genuine belief that Mr Cole was about to harm himself or another person and acted reasonably.”

IOPC Regional Director, Catrin Evans

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