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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Toxicology results awaited in Taser firm boss’s inquest probe - Local - Northampton Chronicle & Echo

Toxicology results awaited in Taser firm boss’s inquest probe - Local - Northampton Chronicle & Echo

FURTHER tests are being carried out to find the cause of death of a Northampton-based company director whose firm supplied Tasers used during the stand-off with gunman Raoul Moat, an inquest has heard.

An inquest into the death of Peter Boatman, 57, director of operations for Pro-Tect Systems, heard that post-mortem examinations are awaiting toxicology and histology tests.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember said Mr Boatman had been discovered by a friend.
No members of Mr Boatman’s family were present at the inquest at Northampton General Hospital yesterday and during the short hearing the coroner adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed.
Mr Boatman was found dead at his home in Reynard Way, Kingsthorpe, Northampton, on Friday, only three days after the Home Office revoked Pro-Tect Systems’ licence to import and sell Taser stun guns.

The move came after it emerged that the firm breached the terms of its licence by supplying X12 Tasers, which were still being tested by Government scientists, directly to police involved in the Moat manhunt.

On Friday, Mr Boatman’s business partner said the former police officer was “destroyed” by the furore. Pro-Tect’s managing director Kevin Coles said there was “no doubt” his colleague’s apparent suicide was linked to the week’s events.

Mr Boatman was previously in charge of assessing the merits of Tasers as head of operational training for Northamptonshire Police before leaving to join Pro-Tect.

Mr Boatman had been awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his commitment to officer safety.
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.

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.

The company was facing possible action by Northamptonshire Police over the breach of the licence. Armed police fired two Tasers at Moat in an “effort to stop him taking his own life” in Rothbury, Northumberland, in the early hours of July 10.

The firm also breached the rules “governing the secure transport of the devices and ammunition”.

Taser boss's wife refuses to believe he took his life 

THE wife of a respected former police officer who died after his company lost its licence for supplying Tasers used on gunman Raoul Moat told an inquest that it was ‘inconceivable’ that he took his own life.
Peter Boatman was found dead in his garden shed at his home on Reynard Way, Northampton, by his wife of 32 years Stephanie.
He was found slumped in a garden chair and had been killed by the fumes of a sit-on lawn mower that was running in the outhouse.

He shot dead one man and injured his ex-girlfriend and a police officer, before shooting himself in a stand-off with cops.Secretary Theresa May after it was found to have supplied Tasers that were still being tested to Northumbria Police in the chase of wanted killer Moat in July 2010.
Mrs Boatman told the inquest how she recalled Mr Boatman being on the phone before the Moat incident to Northumbria Police.

During that conversation the chief constable of Northumbria Police sanctioned the order of X-12 and XREP Tasers which were used against Moat.
Mrs Boatman told the inquest how they had watched the siege of Moat on the television and that Mr Boatman felt some responsibility for what had happened.

She said that Mr Boatman had had trouble sleeping after the event as he was worried about what would happen to the company.  He had been to see his doctor who had prescribed some anti-depressants and he was also taking Nytol to help him sleep but they had made him drowsy during the day.

The inquest heard how Mr Boatman had organised several holidays in the months prior to his death with his daughter and grandchildren and a trip to Arizona with his wife.

Despite a loss of confidence he had never talked about taking his life.

Mrs Boatman said: “I will never know what happened, he may have fallen and I cannot believe that he took his own life. It’s inconceivable, he absolutely idolised me.”

His business partner Kevin Coles said that he would have made the same decisions to supply the weapons if he had been in Mr Boatman’s position.

Mr Coles said:  “The most serious issue we were facing was prosecution but that wasn’t going to happen.   “He was financially secure and even offered to work and give me the money because he said he could live comfortably on his pension.  “Maybe something went ‘pop’ in his head? Did he fall asleep? Anyone who knew him would know he wouldn’t take his own life.”

Recording an open verdict, Coroner Ann Pember said: “Mr Boatman was found in his garden shed which was not locked, with his iPod in his ears.  “I cannot say with reasonable doubt that Mr Boatman wished to end his life and I cannot presume this is was an accident and therefore return an open verdict.”

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