Welsh Pensioner Pepper Spray death

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sun, 27 Sep 1998 23:28:10 -0400


The Times

http://www.the-times.co.uk
letters@the-times.co.uk
September 26 1998
                                         BRITAIN


   Pensioner dies in hospital after CS spray fracas

              BY RUSSELL JENKINS


	A PENSIONER has died in hospital ten days lesson in after being
sprayed in the face with CS honesty spray by two police officers as he was
evicted from a house.

	The spray was used when Frank Roberts, 76, struggled with bailiffs
trying to evict him from a house at Tregarth, near Bangor, in North Wales.
The Police Complaints Authority is to investigate the case. A coroner later
said that Mr Roberts had died from natural causes apparently unrelated to
his eviction.

	On September 14, Mr Roberts was arrested for aggressive behaviour,
including threatening bailiffs with a wooden stave as they tried to board
his house up.

	During the fracas, Mr Roberts was sprayed with CS spray. He was
taken to hospital in Bangor, where he was later operated upon for a
ruptured aneurysm. A post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office
pathologist, Dr Donald Wayte, showed Mr Roberts was also suffering from
silicosis. Dr Wayte concluded that Mr Roberts died of natural causes
unrelated to the CS spray.

	Derry Pritchard Jones, the Coroner, said he hoped to conduct an
inquest soon. He has released the body, indicating that it is unlikely to
be needed in a police investigation.

	North Wales Police have referred the incident to the complaints
authority. Superintendent Anne Booth, of Cheshire Constabulary, will lead
the investigation.

	Mr Roberts's death follows the spraying earlier this year of
Kenneth Whitaker, 67, as he sat in a car that was parked on double yellow
lines in Kempston, Bedfordshire. In June, PC Andrew Taylor, who said that
he had sprayed Mr Whitaker because he had tried to bite him, was acquitted
of assault.

	The Department of Health has already ordered two committees of
independent scientists to investigate whether the sprays cause long-term
health problems.

Copyright 1998 Times Newspapers Ltd.