Taser firm boss in Moat row is found dead

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The director of operations of the firm which supplied the Tasers used during the stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat has died in a suspected suicide, his firm said tonight.

Peter Boatman was found dead this morning and is understood to have killed himself, Pro-Tect Systems said.

Earlier this week, the Home Office revoked Pro-Tect's licence to import and sell Tasers after the firm breached its terms by supplying X12 Tasers directly to police involved in the Moat manhunt.

Mr Boatman, 57, was found dead in his home in Reynard Way, Northampton, today.

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: "Officers were called to an address in Reynard Way, Kingsthorpe, at 1.09pm this afternoon, 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 family do not wish to be contacted and members of the press are asked to respect their privacy."

Pro-Tect was facing possible action by Northamptonshire Police over the breach of the licence.

Speaking after the Home Office revoked the firm's licence on Tuesday, Superintendent Sean Bell, the force's head of operations, said: "We are now considering whether or not to take further action against Pro-Tect in connection with breaching the conditions of their licence."

Former police officer Mr Boatman was in charge of assessing the merits of Taser as head of operational training for the force.

Home Secretary Theresa May revoked the firm's licence to import and sell Tasers following an investigation into the use of the weapons at the end of one of Britain's biggest manhunts.

Pro-Tect breached its licence by supplying the X12 Tasers and XRep ammunition, which were still being tested by the Home Office, directly to two police forces, the Home Office said.

Armed police fired two Tasers at Moat in an "effort to stop him taking his own life" in the Riverside park area in Rothbury, Northumberland, in the early hours of July 10, an inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre was told.

The Tasers can deliver up to 20 seconds of electric shock in bullet-like capsules from a standard 12-gauge shotgun or a X12 Taser.

Mrs May revoked Pro-Tect's licence after inquiries revealed it supplied the Tasers, which should have only been supplied to the Home Office Science and Development Branch (HOSDB), directly to police.

The firm also breached the rules "governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition", the Home Office said.

There was no suggestion any blame should be attached to the officers involved and the Home Office has stressed police could use any weapon they saw fit as long as its use was "lawful, reasonable and proportionate".

The stand-off with the steroid-addicted former nightclub doorman ended the seven-day manhunt which was triggered when Moat shot his former girlfriend, Samantha Stobbart, 22, killed her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29, and blinded Pc David Rathband, 42.

But the precise sequence of events regarding the discharge of the XRep Tasers in relation to Moat firing his sawn-off shotgun has not been established and is under investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the inquest into his death was told.

Steve Reynolds, of the IPCC, said: "The review of tactics will consider the deployment and use of the XRep Taser."

Pro-Tect Systems said it could not comment while the IPCC investigation was going on.

Kevin Coles, managing director of the company, said he and his colleagues were "devastated" by the news.

He said: "After recent events he wasn't the man he was. We're all just dreadfully sorry for (his wife) Steph and the family."

A spokesman for Daventry-based Pro-Tect Systems said Mr Boatman's death was "an incredibly sad loss".

The firm said Mr Boatman showed "incredible passion in bringing a friendly and committed outlook to all he met".

"It is with great regret we announce the tragic death of our colleague and great friend Peter Boatman today," the spokesman said.

"At this point, it is inappropriate to comment on this terrible news apart from saying we are devastated and are sharing a state of severe shock and grief with Peter's family.

"Since Peter has been a part of out business he has shown incredible passion in bringing a friendly and committed outlook to all he met.

"His death is an incredibly sad loss and we extend out deepest condolences and thoughts to his family and friends at this very difficult time.

"We share in Peter's family request for privacy so we can all come to terms with today's awful news and we hope you can respect this."