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Man who died after Tasering 'was ex-soldier struggling with mental health'

Published 15/06/2016

The man was shot with a Taser by Dyfed-Powys Police officers
The man was shot with a Taser by Dyfed-Powys Police officers

A former soldier who died after being Tasered by police had suffered with mental health problems after leaving the military, friends have said.

Police were called to a street in Llanelli, South Wales, following reports from locals expressing concern about a man's behaviour.

Eyewitnesses said they saw someone armed with a knife looking "totally out of it" before stabbing a dog and then himself.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed that a Taser was used by officers and the man died shortly afterwards.

The man has been named locally as Spencer Beynon - who is thought to have been 43 and had previously served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friend Brendan Goddard, 34, said he was totally shocked by the news.

He said: "Spencer was a lovely bloke. I've known him most of my life. He was a good guy but I think he had been struggling with his mental health since leaving the Army.

"Since he's come back home he's not been the same."

Emergency crews were called to the scene in Maes Y Bwlch in the Morfa area of Llanelli at around 7.35pm on Tuesday.

Several neighbours reported hearing an "almighty commotion" before the arrival of several police cars.

Halder Monteiro, 43, who lives nearby, was among those who saw the incident unfold.

He said: "I was in the house and I could hear lots of shouting and at first I just thought it was kids messing around.

"I then went out to see what was going on and I could see a guy in the street who looked totally out of it. He didn't seem himself - as if he wasn't there. He just had this look in his eyes. You could tell he wasn't acting rationally.

"He then started hitting his head against a window several times and looked to be holding a dog in his arms.

"After police used the Taser he fell to the floor and the dog he was carrying was crawling on its back legs. It looked injured."

Other neighbours said they had seen Mr Beynon stab himself and the dog with a kitchen knife. It is thought Mr Beynon, who did not live in Maes Y Bwlch, had been visiting a friend in the street.

Several tributes have since been left on Facebook and Twitter.

Sarah Daniels wrote: "Spencer Beynon. I am shocked, gutted, confused. RIP my old friend. Until we meet again."

Locals said Mr Beynon was a former member of the Royal Welsh Regiment who had lost comrades in a roadside bomb attack in Basra and had been left traumatised by his experiences.

In December 2007, he was welcomed back to Wales along with his regiment when hundreds of people lined the streets for a homecoming parade from Iraq.

Local councillor Robert Davies said: "It is very sad. He was a nice guy, always had time to say hello, very pleasant. He was always with his dog.

"I think he found it hard coming out of the Army. So many of our soldiers who serve their country are forgotten about.

"He was a very fit young man I would see him going to the gym or out on his bike but he would always wave and say hello."

Dyfed-Powys Police said the force had referred the matter to the IPCC, which will now carry out an independent investigation.

A spokeswoman added: "We are fully co-operating with them.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the man."

An IPCC spokesman said: "Officers attended and, during engagement with the man, it is understood a Taser was discharged.

"The man became unresponsive and was subsequently pronounced dead. The IPCC has begun an independent investigation."

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