Dalian Atkinson: Funeral for ex footballer is held in Telford

Dalian Atkinson's coffin Image copyright PA
Image caption Mourners gathered in Telford from 11:30 GMT for the funeral service

Mourners gathered for the funeral of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson, who died after being shot with a Taser by police.

Paramedics battled for about 30 minutes to try to save the 48-year-old after he became unresponsive following the incident in Telford in Shropshire.

His family said on Friday that they do not know "why such force was used" by police in the early hours of 15 August.

Two officers are under investigation. The service was at Telford Crematorium.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dalian Atkinson started his career at Ipswich Town before moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa and Fenerbah├že

Former Villa players Ian Taylor and Tommy Johnson were among the guests at the humanist service.

Celebrant Peter Mansell, said: "There was no-one quite like Dalian, there never was before and there never will be again."

The Taser was used on Mr Atkinson outside his father's house in the Trench area of Telford.

The former Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Ipswich Town footballer went into cardiac arrest on his way to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Mourners were told how he played football as boy with his brothers and friends in Meadow Street, the same road where he was shot with the Taser.

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Image caption Former Aston Villa player Ian Taylor was among mourners

Mr Atkinson was an "energetic and funny" man who "loved the playboy lifestyle", but was also "generous, caring and protective," Mr Mansell said.

Mr Atkinson's siblings had said they wanted the funeral to be a celebration of his life but admitted the way he died "casts such a dark shadow over everything".

In a statement on Friday, the family said he had struggled to come to terms with a serious illness affecting his kidneys during the last six months of his life.

Image caption Mr Atkinson died on 15 August

Mr Atkinson's niece Josie told the congregation: "Inspiration is the word most appropriate to you, a figure I looked up to and still do."

Another niece, Cleo, said: "You had such a charismatic soul and enriched everyone's lives with your intellect, insight and warmth, never failing to make people around you laugh."

Image caption Ugo Ehiogu described Mr Atkinson as a mentor to him at Aston Villa
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Image caption Former footballers Tommy Johnson and Brian Deane attended the service

Mr Atkinson was later interred at nearby Hadley Cemetery next to his mother.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating and the two West Mercia officers are under criminal investigation.

Speaking after the service, former Aston Villa teammate Ugo Ehiogu said he hoped the investigation was "thorough".

He described Mr Atkinson as being "like a mentor to him" when he joined the club.

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Image caption Former Aston Villa manager Brian Little also attended the service

He added: "I hope there is something that comes out of it that we can learn so something like this doesn't happen again.

"It's a tragic way to go."

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