Neighbors report Taser ‘tragedy’ as elderly man dies

FORMER neighbors of a 93-year-old man who was verbally abused by police at his care home have told of their horror to discover he died in hospital just three weeks later.

Officials have been called to reports of a one-legged man with dementia threatening staff at his St Leonard care home with a knife on Tuesday, June 21.

Donald Burgess was in his wheelchair when one of the officers attempted to recover the knife using PAVA spray and a baton before another used his taser and handcuffed him.

The Argus: Donald Burgess was 93 when he diedDonald Burgess died at the age of 93

Donald was taken to hospital after the incident but died on Wednesday July 13 – although the cause of death is not yet known.

Last night, neighbors at his former home in Battle said they were “stunned and shocked” by his tragic death.

A neighbor, who asked not to be named, said: “Oh what a tragedy. He was an amiable, sociable man. He and his wife Ethel lived here for years and they were a lovely couple.

“Ethel got cancer and the last time she went to hospice I promised her I would take care of her don. This is so annoying. I can not believe it. How terrible.”

She said Mr Burgess, a retired carpenter, had had diabetes for some time and as a result had to have his leg amputated.

“After Ethel’s death, he had his own carers,” the neighbor said.

“But after his leg was amputated, he only came back for one night before going to a nursing home.”

Two Sussex Police officers are now criminally charged with manslaughter and have been charged with gross misconduct.

The Argus: The police used a taser on Donald in his nursing homePolice used a taser on Donald at his nursing home

Another former neighbor said: “He must have developed dementia after going to the care home because he was always fine when he was here. We liked him. He was a kind old man. I think his wife’s death hit him very hard.”

While another resident said the couple are childless and have to rely on caregivers in their later years.

“They were both lovely,” said one.

“I don’t remember Don having any hobbies like gardening or watching sports, but I do know he enjoyed watching TV. He was a nice, gentle old man. What happened to him left me stunned and shocked. It’s absolutely awful.”

Another resident said: “How awful. I knew him pretty well to spend time with him. He was a lovely old man.”

Sussex Police said they support the independent inquiry.

Deputy Police Commissioner Tanya Jones said: “We would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Mr Burgess. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

“We are providing the IOPC with every support to allow for a thorough investigation and to provide the family with the answers they need.” Neighbors report Taser ‘tragedy’ as elderly man dies

Fry Electronics Team

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