1. ITV Report

Bodybuilder Tasered four times before he died

Dale Burns, 27, died two hours after being hit with a Taser Photo:

A policeman told an inquest how he shot a man four times in the space of a minute with a 50,000 volt Taser gun.

Bodybuilder Dale Burns, 27, collapsed and struck his head on a TV cabinet after the initial blast from the electric shock weapon used by Pc Kevin Milby.

The officer went on to use the Taser three more times on Mr Burns as he and two colleagues struggled to arrest the muscle bound suspect.

Mr Burns from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, died around two hours later, after being hit four times with the Taser in the space of 52 seconds and pepper-sprayed in the face.

Pc Milby told the inquest into the death of Mr Burns that he had enough time to assess whether the initial Taser blasts were having enough effect before pulling the trigger again.

The officer maintained, as two of his colleagues fought on the floor to get cuffs on the suspect, he carried out, "another analysis of the conflict management model."

Mr Burns, a father of a girl aged five and boy aged three, was described as a "gentle giant but with a drug habit" who regularly took steroids and ecstasy pills while working as a nightclub bouncer.

He had also used cannabis and snorted cocaine and began to suffer depression and tried to take his own life in the months before his death.

On the day he died he told police he had taken a "gram of Madcat", an illegal drug, the inquest into his death at the County Hall in Kendal heard.

Officers were first called around 6pm on August 16, 2011, after Mr Burns began to trash the bathroom of his rented flat.

Six police officers turned up with Pc Milby, trained and authorised to use a Taser gun, taking the lead.

They found Mr Burns wild-eyed and semi-naked.

"Immediately I could tell he appeared to be under the influence of some sort of drugs," Pc Milby told the hearing.

"His eyes were rolling in the back of his head and pupils dilated. He was making sudden, jerky movements.

"I asked him what he had taken. He replied, 'Madcat'."

Pc Milby, with Pcs Scott Elliot and Jon Batley, decided they would have to arrest Burns for criminal damage but were also concerned at the way he was behaving, the inquest heard.

Mr Burns then began to throw clothes and other objects out of the window into the street below before Pc Milby said he was forced to use his Taser as the suspect bore down on him in the lounge of the one-bed flat.

"He turned towards me, he had both fists clenched...grinding down on his teeth.

"As he approached I decided to self-authorise the Taser and discharged it at him.

"It was my belief he posed a danger to me and other officers and himself.

"He was becoming increasingly aggressive. I feared for my personal safety at that time."

Pc Milby said he did not have time to shout a warning to Mr Burns, who fell back, then forwards, and hit his head on the TV cabinet as he went down.

The first shot was timed automatically by the device at exactly 6.50pm and each Taser blast is a pulse of electric shock lasting five seconds.

So with the next shot timed at 6.50pm and eight seconds, there was a gap of just three seconds between the end of the first blast and the start of the next.

Jonathan Hough QC, counsel for the coroner, asked the officer if he should have waited before pulling the trigger again so soon after the first blast.

"I would say it would be unsafe for all parties to do so," he replied.

Mr Burns was then pepper sprayed in the face before Pc Milby fired his Taser again at 6.50pm and 36 seconds.

As his two colleagues continued to struggle to get the handcuffs on Mr Burns the officer pulled the trigger for the final time at 6.50pm and 52 seconds.

Pc Milby then put his Taser back in his holster and with Mr Burns still thrashing his arms and legs, helped his colleagues to bind the suspect at the ankles and wrists with cuffs and leg restraints.

Mr Burns was taken to Furness General Hospital in Barrow and medics administered diazepam at 7.35pm and he calmed down.

But he then suffered a heart attack and despite hospital staff and a police officer giving CPR for 40 minutes, he was pronounced dead at 8.41pm.

The inquest is scheduled to last up to three weeks.

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