Shropshire

Dalian Atkinson: Two PCs may be charged over footballer Taser death

Dalian Atkinson Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dalian Atkinson played for Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday

Two police officers could face criminal charges over the death of former footballer Dalian Atkinson who was shot with a Taser.

The ex-Aston Villa striker, 48, died in August 2016 after contact with officers at his father's house in Shropshire.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had referred a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

West Mercia Police said it "understands the need for answers".

Mr Atkinson started his career at Ipswich Town before moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa and Fenerbahçe in Turkey.

The IOPC said during its investigation, three West Mercia Police officers were interviewed twice under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices.

The actions of the third officer have not been referred to the CPS.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Aston Villa fans paid tribute to their former striker

The IOPC said the officers attended Meadows Close in Trench, Telford, and were "involved in detaining Mr Atkinson outside" an address at about 01:30 BST on 15 August 2016.

It said the former footballer was taken by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford where he later died.

"The investigation gathered evidence which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force," the IOPC added.

An inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death has yet to be held amid a delay in the testing of toxicology samples.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Dalian Atkinson's funeral was held in Telford

West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans confirmed a Taser was deployed while responding to an incident involving Mr Atkinson.

"We understand the need for answers by those directly affected by this tragedy and also by the wider community that West Mercia Police serves," he added.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time."

In a statement released after Mr Atkinson's death, his siblings said he was a "kind, caring and protective brother, with a lively personality".

Today, they said the investigation had been "long, frustrating and difficult" but the family was "pleased" the case had been referred to the CPS.

"This is a huge step closer to getting justice for Dalian," they said.

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