Police watchdog to reinvestigate death of man who was Tasered

The police watchdog is to launch a new investigation into the death of a man in Manchester who was Tasered by officers, after its original report was quashed.

Jordon Begley, 23, died in hospital of cardiac arrest in July 2013, two hours after being shot with a stun gun and restrained by police officers who had been called to his home following a row with his neighbours.

The original Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation cleared Greater Manchester police of any culpability in relation to his death.

But after concerns about the conduct of the officers involved that were not consistent with the IPCC’s findings were raised at the coroner’s inquest into Begley’s death, the watchdog took the unprecedented step of applying for a judicial review to get its own report quashed.

On Friday, Lord Justice Elias and Mr Justice Males, sitting in the high court, ruled that it should be overturned and that a reinvestigation should take place.

IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts said: “The IPCC welcomes the decision. Quashing the report, and the findings, is the most appropriate course of action for all involved, which is why we sought the judicial review.

“We will now take the opportunity to carefully consider the judges’ comments in making their determinations, and apply these to a new investigation into the circumstances of Jordon Begley’s death, and the actions of Greater Manchester police on that day. This will involve a new investigative team who had no previous involvement with the original investigation.”

Begley, a factory worker from Gorton, Manchester, was shot at his home with a 50,000-volt stun gun from a distance of 70cm (28in). He was also punched and restrained by armed officers, who believed he had a knife.

In July 2015, the inquest jury concluded that police may have believed Begley to be carrying a knife that could be used to injure himself and others, but said the officer “inappropriately used the Taser by holding the trigger down longer so that it was deployed for over eight seconds, which is not reasonable use in the circumstances”.

They delivered a narrative verdict, saying Begley had been “inappropriately and unreasonably” Tasered and restrained. The jury found officers were “more concerned with their own welfare” than Begley’s.

At last week’s high court hearing, Jeremy Johnson QC, appearing for both the IPCC and its chief executive, said the original report did not summarise contradictory statements from the officers on the position of Begley’s hands before he was Tasered. One officer had said Begley’s hands were in his pockets while another said they were clenched in fists.

It also did not summarise evidence that one of the officers had said he delivered two “distraction strikes” to Begley and that this “knocked the wind” out of him while efforts were continuing to subdue him, said Johnson. He told the court this too was relevant to the question of whether excessive force had been used.

Hugh Davies QC, appearing for the officers, had argued that no compelling basis had been demonstrated for a reinvestigation.