Boss of firm that supplied Taser used on Raoul Moat is found dead

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The Independent Online

A director of the company which supplied unauthorised Taser guns to officers involved in the hunt for Raoul Moat is understood to have killed himself just three days after the Home Office revoked the firm's licence to supply weapons to police forces.

Peter Boatman, the director of operations at Pro-Tect Systems, was found dead at his home in Northampton yesterday afternoon having apparently taken his own life.

His business partner Kevin Coles told the BBC that Mr Boatman, 57, had been "destroyed" at learning he was to be stripped of his Home Office licence for supplying the untested X12 Tasers directly to Northumbria Police.

Mr Coles added that Mr Boatman was a "proud man" who had simply tried to help the police in their hunt for Moat and that he had felt "ashamed" at the recent developments. He added: "After recent events he wasn't the man he was. We're all just dreadfully sorry for [his wife] Steph and the family."

In a statement last night, Pro-Tect Systems, based in Daventry, said: "It is with great regret we announce the tragic death of our colleague and great friend Peter Boatman ... We are devastated and are sharing a state of severe shock and grief with Peter's family."

In July, The Independent revealed that the X12 Tasers used against Raoul Moat before he shot himself dead were not authorised by the Home Office. The Taser was being tested by the Home Office before being approved for use by police forces in England and Wales. But they were sent to Northumbria Police specifically for use in the search for Moat, who had been on the run for a week after murdering one man and shooting and injuring two others.

And the Tasers, which deliver a higher voltage of shock than the standard handheld Tasers, only arrived in Northumbria hours before they were handed out to officers who had never trained with them previously. On Tuesday the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the Pro-Tect Home Office licence was being withdrawn because it had breached the terms of its contract by supplying the weapons.

A statement released at the time read: "Enquiries following the Raoul Moat case revealed Pro-Tect breached its licence by supplying Tasers direct to police that were only available for distribution to the Home Office Science and Development branch.

"The enquiries carried out by Northamptonshire Police also revealed the company breached rules governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition. Faced with these breaches, the Home Secretary has decided to revoke Pro-Tect's licence to supply Tasers."

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "Officers were called to an address in Reynard Way, Kingsthorpe, at 1.09pm [on Friday], where the body of a 57-year-old man was discovered. We are not treating the death as suspicious and will be preparing a report for the coroner."

The force said later that "due to recent police contact with the deceased" it had voluntarily referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

A seven-day manhunt for Mr Moat started on 3 July when he killed his former partner Samantha Stobbart's boyfriend, Chris Brown, and injured her, in Birtley, Gateshead. Next he shot police constable David Rathband, 42, in his patrol car in East Denton, Newcastle, before going to ground and finally emerging in the Northumberland village of Rothbury.

It emerged that Mr Moat had been released from prison on the Thursday before his rampage and that the prison had told Northumbria Police that he had made threats against Ms Stobbart, 22.

He died following a six-hour stand-off with police in Rothbury, Northumberland on 10 July. Two officers, from West Yorkshire police, fired the Tasers at Moat in an "effort to stop him taking his own life". He is then said to have shot himself.