Two police officers under investigation over Dalian Atkinson taser death

West Mercia police say the two officers are also being served with gross misconduct notices

Two police officers are under criminal investigation over the death of former Premier League footballer Dalian Atkinson.

West Mercia police say the two officers are also being served with gross misconduct notices.

Mr Atkinson, who was 48, died after an incident outside his father's house in Trench in Telford, in the early hours of Monday morning.

A Taser was discharged, and Mr Atkinson went into cardiac arrest on his way to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission(IPCC) is investigating the death, and says it does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.  

IPCC Commissioner Derrick Campbell said: "Having carefully considered the evidence gathered so far, we are undertaking a criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr Atkinson's death and the level and type of force used. Two police officers will be interviewed under criminal caution by IPCC investigators. As this is a criminal investigation, the IPCC is limited in the amount of information which can be released into the public domain. I would ask people to be patient during the progress of our investigation and not to add to speculation about the circumstances of Mr Atkinson's death. Speculation across the media as a whole can risk prejudice to the investigation process. We will keep Mr Atkinson's family updated and our thoughts remain with all of those affected by his death."

A post mortem held on Wednesday failed to confirm the cause of death, and further tests are to be carried out.

Relatives said Mr Atkinson was "not in his right mind", and was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when he was Tasered.

His brother, Kenroy, said the former footballer had undergone dialysis for kidney failure and was "in a manic state and depressed" at the time of the incident.

He said his brother had attacked their 85-year-old father Ernest at his home before police were called to the scene.
"We are all devastated. Our family is heartbroken," he added.

Mr Atkinson started his career at Ipswich and then played for Sheffield Wednesday and Spanish side Real Sociedad before moving to Villa.

The striker's wonder goal against Wimbledon during a 3-2 win in the Premiership in October 1992 was named Match of the Day's goal of the season.

In 1994, the striker scored at Wembley as Villa beat Manchester United to lift the League Cup.

On Tuesday, Villa fans paid tribute to Atkinson, applauding 10 minutes into the club's Championship game against Huddersfield Town.

A petition calling on the Prime Minister to urgently review police use of Tasers has gathered more than 50,000 signatures.

Mr Atkinson's death follows that of ex-soldier Spencer Beynon, who was Tasered by police in Llanelli, South Wales, in June after stabbing a dog and then himself.