Burned to death in police taser fireball: Officers fired 50,000 volts at man

  • Tragic: Andrew Pimlott burned to death when officers used a taser on him after he doused himself in petrolA man who had doused himself in petrol turned into a human fireball when police shot him with a Taser.

Andrew Pimlott, 32, suffered horrific injuries in the confrontation outside his house and died in a hospital burns unit five days later.

The 50,000-volt volley was fired after he threatened to kill himself while holding a canister of fuel in one hand and a naked flame in the other.

Jack Fry, who saw the incident, said: ‘There were three screams. Then we saw a man, fully on fire, from top to bottom, like you see on a film, with his arms swaying around.

‘We saw two police officers appear from the side of the house. One of them jumped on the burning man and put him on the floor.

‘The officers were shouting to each other and the one who had put him to the ground got an old duvet or cover and started smacking the man with it.’

The incident – the latest to raise serious questions about the increasing use of Taser weapons – is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Sophie Khan, a lawyer who specializes in representing Taser victims, said the death was deeply saddening. ‘Police Taser policy clearly states that using one where there is flammable liquid is prohibited,’ she added.

‘We do not know the facts but it is possible this tragedy could have been avoided if the officers had followed standard procedure.

‘It is another incident which highlights potentially inappropriate use of Taser which is growing as a weapon of choice among British police forces.’

Officers have been warned not to use Taser weapons on people who have been sprayed with CS gas, because some brands catch fire.

The confrontation took place outside Mr Pimlott’s home in the Plymouth suburb of Honicknowle on April 18.

Responding to an emergency call about a domestic incident, two officers found Mr Pimlott in the back garden with the canister. He had poured some fuel over his body.

Within moments of the Taser being fired he burst into flames, suffering serious injuries, including the loss of an ear. He was taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and transferred to a specialist unit at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol where he died four days ago. It is not known whether the two officers involved remain on duty.

Mr Fry, a 20-year-old shop worker, said the pair were ‘heroes’ for jumping on Mr Pimlott with blankets in a bid to put out the flames.

‘There was steam coming off him and he was groaning. The sight was sickening,’ he added. ‘The officers then got a hosepipe and poured on water. We heard more sirens and as the paramedics and fire crews arrived I went back inside. I want to say how amazing the officer was. I think this officer is, well, I would use the word hero.’

Another neighbour said: ‘I thought a bomb had gone off. It was a sound like a shot or a bomb. Then I heard a howling noise.’

Mr Pimlott, who lived with his parents, Kelvin, 61, and Jean, 63, was known to police after being jailed last December for attacking an officer. The incident followed Mr Pimlott’s father calling police because his son was drunk and aggressive.

Mr Pimlott, who was jailed for eight weeks, referred to himself as being ‘like Jekyll and Hyde’ when drunk.


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