Matthew Donkin represented the family of the deceased, a frail and unwell 73 year old former NHS worker, who died after being attacked in her own home by a police dog, having allowed the police access to her garden to carry out a search for a suspect.
This Article 2 inquest was heard before the Assistant Coroner for Teesside, Mrs. Welsh, and a jury. The scope of the inquest included the acquisition and training of the police dog, the general conduct of the police and deployment of the dog during a search and the conduct of the handler and other officers once the attack by the dog had begun. The witnesses included the dog handler, police dog trainer and senior officers responsible for the unit, along with officers who attended at the scene and the Home Office Pathologist.
The jury determination, met with satisfaction by the family of the deceased, included findings that Irene Collins had never been told that a police dog was to be deployed, steps could have been taken to ensure that she was safe inside her home, that contrary to the police evidence the dog did not obey commands immediately and further action should have been taken to prevent the dog attacking and biting on a second occasion.
The conclusion of the jury was that Mrs. Collins died from Natural Causes, contributed to by the consequences of dog bites while the dog was out of control.
Media coverage of the inquest can be found here: