Inquest opens into the death of Adrian Mcdonald following a police dog bite and use of taser by Staffordshire Police

Adrian McDonald died in 2014, aged 34, following an arrest where he was tasered and bitten severely by a police dog.

However, the moments Adrian was bitten and tasered were not captured on recordings shown to the jury.

Adrian was handcuffed and escorted out of the property and put into a police van, after admitting to police that he had taken drugs and appeared to be breathing heavily.

The police had originally been called to reports of an intruder at the address. But the inquest heard however that this report was misleading.

Adrian complained of breathing difficulties, and was heard in an audio recording gasping from the police van that he could not breathe. An officer responded, with “you can breathe because you are talking. Deep breaths.” Approximately seven minutes after Adrian became unresponsive in the van. An ambulance was called and paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Brother Wayne McDonald gave evidence, describing Adrian as having a ‘contagious zest for life.’ He added:

“It’s been four years since we lost Adrian. That’s four years since we last heard him laugh, smile, and four years since his children last got to give him a hug.

He loved his family and it pains us to watch his children growing knowing that he is missing out on all of their milestones. Adrian had so much to live for and it feels so unfair that he isn’t here with us today.

We have been there at every stage of the inquest process, fighting for Adrian, and for each of the families who have lost a loved one while in police custody. The process takes far too long to reach a hearing. It means you cannot truly grieve for the loss of your loved one because you have to relive it time and time again.”

  • A report issued this year from the Staffordshire Police Federation; details that 78% of members surveyed want Tasers to be made available for every shift- with 39% currently having them available.
  • Stats provided by Staffordshire Police show that Tasers were deployed 188 times between the financial year of 2017-2018.

The inquest commenced this week at Hanley Town Hall, expecting to last up to three weeks. The inquest continues to examine the options police officers had who dealt with Adrian, given his presentation and the circumstances contributing to his death.

The Family of Adrian McDonald is represented by Inquest Lawyers Group member Ruth Bundey, of Harrison Bundey Solicitors, and Jason Pitter QC of New Park Court Chambers Leeds.

Our longstanding partner Ruth Bundey specialises in representing families of those who have died in custody. She is largely recognised for her advocacy in this field.

Inquests are held if a person has died in an unnatural, violent or sudden death when the cause is unclear. The purpose of an inquest is to find out exactly the cause of death; and whether any systemic failures have contributed. Inquests aim to ensure that any misleading failures are exposed, and other lives are not lost to the same failures.

Ruth Bundey comments:

“This Inquest has been a long time coming, and Adrian’s large and loving family are desperate for some answers.”

If you require any additional information, Call Ruth Bundey on 0113 200 7403 or alternatively email

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