Police repeatedly taser terrified Alzheimers sufferer in front of his wife
Outrage as police repeatedly TASER terrified Alzheimer’s sufferer in front of his wife because he didn’t want to go into care – then tie him up in his living room
Police shot Peter Russell with several Taser stun rounds, before manhandling him to the living room floor
His arms and legs were tied together and he was carried outside ‘like a bag of potatoes’ in full view of horrified neighbours
Two months later Mr Russell is still receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital and his wife Diane, 50, remains traumatised
Alzheimer’s Society says the incident illustrates a lack of understanding in society of dementia
By Chris Brooke
PUBLISHED: 18:20, 9 May 2012 | UPDATED: 11:09, 10 May 2012
Police fired Tasers at a terrified Alzheimer’s sufferer in a troubling incident that reopens the debate on the controversial weapon.
Six officers were called to take the unarmed 58-year-old man to hospital but he had no idea what was going on and lashed out at them.
What happened next left his wife ‘heartbroken’ and his neighbours in tears.
Police shot former farm worker Peter Russell with several Taser stun rounds, before manhandling him to the living room floor.
His arms and legs were tied together and he was carried outside ‘like a bag of potatoes’ in full view of horrified neighbours.
Mr Russell, described by his wife as a ‘loving’ family man ‘who wouldn’t hurt a fly,’ was then put into a police van and driven off.
Two months later, Mr Russell is still receiving psychiatric treatment in hospital and his wife Diane, 50, remains traumatised.
She has criticised the behaviour of doctors and police officers and has spoken out ‘to prevent other families suffering the same needless ordeal’. Mother-of-two Mrs Russell, of Epworth, North Lincolnshire, said: ‘There was no need to use the Tasers.
‘If he was a wife beater or an armed robber then I could understand it, but this is someone who will stop his tractor when ploughing a field and move a nest of mice to the side.’
Police chiefs have backed the officers’ actions, saying they faced ‘a significant level of violence’ from Mr Russell.
But the incident raises issues about the understanding and appropriate treatment of people suffering from dementia.
Mr Russell, who has a daughter from a previous marriage and married Diane in September 2010, began being forgetful about three years ago.
He went to hospital for a scan and Alzheimer’s disease was diagnosed.
The farm worker was forced to retire and over recent months his condition became worse.
Mrs Russell said he began ‘pushing’ her and doctors decided to section him under the Mental Health Act to review his treatment.
On March 6, two nurses and a psychiatrist visited the couple’s home and Mr Russell became agitated at hearing talk of him going to hospital.
Mrs Russell said he began swearing and ‘slamming cupboards’. She suggested he be given sweets and his favourite Noddy toy to calm him and then be driven to hospital by a neighbour.
But this was rejected and the medical staff were told to go outside because they were upsetting Mr Russell.
Several hours later, a doctor, hospital consultant and social worker arrived and discussed calling an ambulance. Mr Russell became agitated again. The doctors left and police arrived to handle the hospital transfer.
Mrs Russell was told to go into the kitchen and it was then that her husband ‘lashed out’. She said ‘five or six’ officers went into the living room.
After he was tasered, a policewoman came into the kitchen crying and told Mrs Russell: ‘We didn’t want to do this, but we had no option.’
Mrs Russell said: ‘He was fighting them off because he didn’t want to go to hospital. He was petrified and scared. He was shouting “get off” as they carried him. I was going mental and I remember saying “it’s not him, it’s the Alzheimer’s”.
‘He was not armed and wasn’t about to kill himself, they should not have tasered him.’
Neighbour Jez Taylor, 58, said: ‘The treatment he received was disgusting.’
Mrs Russell said she may lodge a formal complaint to police.
Chief Superintendent David Hilditch, of Humberside Police, said: ‘The officers were faced with a significant level of violence. It is to their credit that they successfully restrained the man without injury to himself.’
Two police officers are believed to have suffered minor injuries in the incident.
Sarah Moody from the Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘This unfortunate incident illustrates a lack of understanding in society of dementia and the best way to support and help people who are affected by this devastating condition.’