Police officer suffered 'nasty' electric shock at Portsmouth sports pitch a month before taxi driver was electrocuted

A POLICE officer suffered a ‘nasty’ electric shock on an outdoor football pitch just a month before a taxi driver died of electrocution in the same place, an inquest heard.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 28th September 2019, 10:41 am
Taxi driver Albert Xhediku, who was killed at Mountbatten Leisure Centre after being electrocuted on January 17, 2016.

Albert Xhediku, 34, went to retrieve an out-of-play football when he was electrocuted on the pitch at the Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth, on January 17, 2016.

A coroner heard the fatal incident took place as he simultaneously touched a floodlight pylon and a metal fence while climbing.

As the inquest into his death continued today, the court heard police officer Simon Tam was shocked in similar circumstances a month earlier.

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Taxi driver Albert Xhediku, who was killed at Mountbatten Leisure Centre after being electrocuted on January 17, 2016.

PC Tam was playing with Hampshire Constabulary colleagues at the site on December 1, 2015 as he attempted to climb and get a ball off a roof.

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Giving evidence the cop, who also touched a pylon and the fence, said the ‘extremely painful' episode caused his ‘whole body to tense up’.

‘It was hard even to speak because I was frozen due to the shock, it was severe muscular pain leaving a tense, burning sensation,' he said.

Albert Xhediku's taxi at Mountbatten Centre the day after the death Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency

PC Tam shrieked in pain after the shock but fellow officer, Anthony Percival, said colleagues initially thought he was ‘mucking around'.

‘I hear him say “agh, guys, I have been electrocuted”,' he said.

‘I’m thinking how would he have been, don’t be silly.'

PC Tam continued playing football after an 'awkward’ 4ft fall to the ground but admitted losing the sensation in his fingertips.

The inquest heard he called the Mountbatten Centre to report the incident a day later but was dismayed after hearing laughter down the line.

Thomas Hawkins, the duty manager who took PC Tam's call, told coroners he knew the incident was ‘serious' and made records of it.

After logging an incident form he confirmed he also texted the site’s centre manager, Luke Colaluca, saying: ‘Please call!! Very important.’

Mr Hawkins said he felt he ‘had done his part' after Mr Colaluca said he would make follow-up calls.

The court heard the incident took place during a period of ‘really bad anti-social behaviour’ at the Mountbatten Centre – with people climbing over the pitch's gates to access it when it was closed to the public.