One-legged dementia-sufferer died in care home after police hit him with baton and stunned him with Taser

4 August 2022, 17:04 | Updated: 4 August 2022, 17:54

Donald Burgess, 93, died after being tasered by police in a care home.
Donald Burgess, 93, died after being tasered by police in a care home. Picture: Family handout

By Stephen Rigley

Two police officers are being investigated for the manslaughter of a dementia sufferer with one leg who died after he was Tasered, hit with a baton and pepper sprayed in his care home.

taser
taser. Picture: Alamy

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) said police were called to the care home in St-Leonard's-on-Sea, East Sussex, on the afternoon of June 21 following reports that Donald Burgess, 93, had a knife and was threatening staff.

On arrival, police were shown into a room where Mr Burgess, who was in a wheelchair and had one leg, had a knife.

After engaging with him briefly one of the officers pepper sprayed him and then used his baton on him while the second officer Tasered him.

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The two officers - both police constables from Sussex Police - have been told they are under criminal investigation for manslaughter and have also been handed gross misconduct notices.

The IOPC said initial steps carried out in the investigation include taking witness statements and reviewing the officers’ body worn video footage.

They also attended the post-mortem on July 21 and await the findings of further cardio-pathology examinations, as the cause of Mr Burgess’ death is not yet known.

Graham Beesley, IOPC Regional Director, said "I want to express my sympathies to the man’s relatives and those who knew him. 

"We have advised his next-of-kin of our independent investigation and explained the steps we will be taking.'This will include investigating whether the force used by the two officers against this male, was reasonable, necessary and proportionate in the circumstances and in line with local and national policies, procedures and guidance.'