A police officer’s use of a Taser partly contributed to the death of a factory worker who was being restrained, an inquest has concluded in a damning landmark case.
Jordan Begley, 23, died after up to 11 police officers attended reports of an argument with his neighbour at around 8pm on 10 July, 2013.
The ice-cream factory worker was rowing with his neighbour in the street on Beard Road in Gorton, central Manchester, after she accused him of stealing her handbag, before he went back inside the home he shared with his mother. His mother then called the police when he threatened to use a knife.
Three armed officers from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were involved in restraining Mr Begley as he was shot with a 50,000-volt stun gun and punched him with “distraction strikes”.
Mr Begley suffered a cardiac arrest and died in hospital around two hours later at 10pm.
Following a five-week inquest at Manchester Civil Courts of Justice, the jury concluded that police were “more concerned with their own welfare than his [Mr Begley's]”.
The case is understood to be the first time a UK jury has ruled that a Taser and restraint directly caused a death.
The jury also said that Pc Terence Donnelly was wrong to pull the Taser trigger for eight seconds, and said that the device was used inappropriately and unreasonably.
In addition, the inquest found that a police officer was unjustified in punching the factory worker a second time as they handcuffed him, as he showed “minimal resistance”, and that he was left face down with is hands cuffed for too long.
While the shock of the Taser did not cause Mr Begley’s heart to stop, it contributed to the stressful factors which lead to his fatal cardiac arrest, the inquest heard.
Mrs Begley, 47, who gave evidence during the inquest, broke down in tears as the jury's conclusions were read out.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Begley's mother called the jury's conclusions “fantastic” and called for rules requiring police officers to wear body cameras.
“After two years of fighting everybody, fighting the system, Jordon's day has come. That is all I ever wanted. The last two years have been hell," she said, adding: ”Those officers should not be patrolling the streets".
The victim’s family now intend to launch a legal case against GMP.
Tasers were introduced into a police officer’s kit in 2003. The case is likely to stoke debate over the increasing use of Tasers by police, as they are considered to be safer than guns.
An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) after the incident effectively cleared all the officers involved.
The IPCC has yet to publish the report of its inquiry.
Mrs Begley said of the IPCC: "They are incompetent and badly let us down."
Additional reporting by PAReuse content