You may have arrived here via a direct link to a specific post. To see the most recent posts, click HERE.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Boss of supply firm for Raoul Moat shooting taser 'commits suicide' after losing licence

Hoping I might find a word or two of sympathy for the family of Mr. Boatman after this terrible tragedy, I instead stumbled upon the following message on TWITTER from Taser International's VP of Communications, Steve Tuttle, on the wonders of the XREP:

Great video on #TASER #XREP concerning Green Bay PD. Good summary of how it works: http://bit.ly/bwSuMp
9 minutes ago via web

Name Stephen Tuttle
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Web http://www.TASER.com
Bio VP of Comms for TASER, chief spokesman, crisis mgr & risk mgmt.


October 1, 2010
By Andrew Hough, telegraph.co.uk

A former policeman, Peter Boatman, whose firm supplied the controversial long range tasers which were fired at gunman Raoul Moat has died in a suspected suicide.

The director of operations of the Pro-Tect Systems, which supplied four experimental X-12 tasers used during the police stand-off, was found dead on Friday morning.

It is understood he had killed himself. Police did not confirm how he died but said a taser was not involved.

The 57 year-old worked as an inspector for Northamptonshire Police before leaving the force in 2002 to become a 50 per cent partner in Pro-Tect Systems.

His company gained a lucrative Government contract making him the only legal supplier of tasers in Britain. His company sold more than 4,000 stun-guns to police and military forces.

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

Five police vans were seen attending the father-of-two's home in Kingsthorpe, Northampton.

Officers arrived at his house at lunchtime on Friday before cordoning off the area.

He is believed to have lived at the property with his wife Stephanie, also a director of Pro-Tect Systems, daughter Chloe, 30, and son Kiel. Police officers were said to be comforting his family at the large detached four-bedroomed home.

Four vehicles with personalised numberplates containing the letters TSR, short for taser, were outside the property.

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

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

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

The firm paid tribute to Mr Boatman who had 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."

He added: "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."

A neighbour Rob Fisher, 45, who works as a financial advisor, disclosed how hard Mr Boatman worked.

"It's a tragic thing. Running a business like he did can be very stressful. I feel for his family," he said.

"When I heard the news a couple of nights ago I thought 'how devastating' because he had been working so hard for his company.

"He always got up at 6am in the morning and came back home very late. Peter was very welcoming and introduced us to the neighbourhood."

He added: "Earlier this afternoon an ambulance turned up and police cars came screeching around the cul-de-sac blocking the entrance. It was obvious something tragic had happened."

Another neighbour, who refused to be named, added: "He was a wonderful person, who had a great sense of humour. He will be sorely missed."

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."

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

Mr Boatman publicly denied claims that Tasers could be dangerous and showed his confidence of their safety by firing one at his wife, in November 2004.

She fell to the ground in agony as her husband shot the full 50,000 volts into her back but quickly recovered and stood back to her feet.

No comments: