Cornwall

'Agitated' Falmouth man died after Taser used three times

Marc Cole Image copyright Cole Family
Image caption Marc Cole had been suffering with poor mental health and delusional thoughts

A police officer who used a Taser three times on a man who later died "feared for his life", an inquest has heard.

Marc Cole, 30, was confronted by the officer on a street in Falmouth, Cornwall, as he was carrying a kitchen knife and having delusional thoughts.

PC Timothy Wilson told the hearing in Truro he used the Taser to try to disarm Mr Cole.

He said Mr Cole was holding the knife to his own throat and "seemed determined to cause himself an injury".

The officer was first on the scene in the evening of 23 May 2017 and said Mr Cole appeared "agitated".

"It was clear I needed to do something," PC Wilson said.

After an initial Taser activation lasting six seconds Mr Cole lifted the knife to his throat again, so PC Wilson reactivated the device for a further 22 seconds.

"He slid down the wall with the knife still in his hand," PC Wilson said, adding: "I was again fearful he was going to cause himself serious injury so I reactivated the Taser."

During the third activation, another officer used his baton to strike the knife out of Mr Cole's hand.

'Mental breakdown'

The inquest heard how PC Wilson said in an initial statement he had only activated the Taser once, and in a second statement in September 2017 said he used it twice.

Asked by the coroner why he said this he said he was "given guidance" by the Police Federation and followed it.

"I was aware of two activations, maybe more, but I wasn't sure at the time" he said.

Mr Cole's brother Daniel Cole told the court his sibling was having "a mental breakdown".

He had also been taking cocaine during the afternoon which the inquest heard would have increased the chance of having an adverse effect from the Taser.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance and died later that night.

The inquest continues.

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