Smiley Culture 'plunged knife into own chest'

image captionSmiley Culture's singles included Cockney Translation and Police Officer

Reggae star Smiley Culture plunged a kitchen knife into his own chest after being arrested at his home in Surrey, an inquest jury has been told.

The singer, whose real name was David Emmanuel, was said by a police officer to have "changed completely" after a chat over mugs of tea in his kitchen.

Surrey Coroner Richard Travers told the jury the incident happened during a police search of his Warlingham home.

He said four Metropolitan Police officers went to Mr Emmanuel's home.

Large kitchen knife

They arrived at 07:00 GMT on 15 March 2011 to arrest the singer and search the premises in Hillbury Road as part of an inquiry into allegations of conspiring to import Class A drugs into the UK, Mr Travers said.

At the time of his death, Mr Emmanuel was awaiting trial at Croydon Crown Court along with two co-defendants over allegations of "being concerned" in the supply of a Class A drug, claims he denied.

Mr Travers told the jury they would hear from a police officer, who would be named only as Witness Two, that when police were coming to the end of the search, Mr Emmanuel very suddenly and without warning stood up.

Witness Two realised for the first time that Mr Emmanuel had a large kitchen knife in his hand.

Body language changed

"The officer says that he shouted out 'knife' so as to warn his colleagues, at which point, Mr Emmanuel, he says, held out his arm and screamed at Witness Two: 'Do you want some of this?'

"Witness Two will tell you that Mr Emmanuel's face and body language had completely changed, he became angry and was screaming.

"He will tell you that he, Mr Emmanuel, then held the knife with both hands and plunged it into his own chest."

The 48-year-old singer, who found fame with a string of 1980s hits including Cockney Translation and who appeared on Top of the Pops, was found to have died from a single stab wound to the heart.

Stab wound site

The four police officers present in Mr Emmanuel's house in Hillbury Road at the time of his death have been granted anonymity by Mr Travers.

Dr Nathaniel Cary, who carried out a second post-mortem examination on Mr Emmanuel's body, said told the inquest it was possible the fatal stab wound was, as described, a self-inflicted injury.

But he said that on pathological grounds alone there was nothing to determine that this was the case, although it was fair to say the site chosen may be used in self-infliction.

The inquest, which is expected to last up to three weeks, was adjourned until Thursday.

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