The unnamed officer, from Devon and Cornwall Police, could have faced charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and misconduct in a public office, but on Thursday the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided there was insufficient evidence.
Sally Walsh, a senior lawyer in the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “The evidence suggests that this was a fast-moving incident with events unfolding suddenly and in near darkness - from the police approach to the garden to the petrol igniting the entire incident took less than 41 seconds.”
The officer acted “in a genuine attempt to save Mr Pimlott’s life” on 18 April 2013 and a jury was likely to accept his “reasonable” fear, she added.
“Whilst we cannot know whether Mr Pimlott intended to set himself alight, seeing him douse himself in petrol and holding what appeared to be a lighted match, it was reasonable for the officer to conclude that he intended to,” Ms Walsh said.
“It appears from the evidence that the officer did the best he could in what were clearly very difficult circumstances and that he was faced with a choice of either standing back to allow Mr Pimlott to set himself alight or taking the somewhat lesser risk of applying the Taser in an effort to stop him doing so.”Quite right. I commend the CPS (and regular readers will know how rare that it!). It now needs to spread to other organisations:
The decision not to press charges means the case has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the officer for gross misconduct.That should be a short investigation, shouldn't it?