A West Mercia Police officer has been charged with the murder of ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson, who died after being Tasered outside his father’s home in Telford.
A second police officer has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH).
The 48-year-old ex-Aston Villa striker, died at the Princess Royal Hospital after being Tasered by officers outside his father’s home in Meadow Close, Trench on 15 August 2016.
The incident was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (then known as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)) who carried out an independent investigation into West Mercia Police’s contact with Mr Atkinson prior to his death.
The IOPC subsequently referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for a charging decision and today they have authorised a charge of murder against one officer, with unlawful act manslaughter as an alternative offence. An alternative offence is a lesser offence that a jury may consider if it first finds that the more serious charge has not been proved. A second officer has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH).
Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: “Our thoughts continue to remain with the family and friends of Dalian Atkinson at this difficult time.
“We understand the need for answers, however, as court proceedings are now underway it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment regarding the circumstances of Mr Atkinson’s death.
“The officers involved have a right to a fair trial and we will continue to make sure they have the appropriate support throughout the forthcoming criminal justice process.”
Decision follows careful review of all evidence
Jenny Hopkins, Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division at the Crown Prosecution Service said:
“Following the death of Dalian Atkinson in Telford on 15 August 2016, the Crown Prosecution Service has today authorised a charge of murder against a West Mercia police constable. A second police constable, from the same force, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm (ABH). Mr Atkinson’s family has been informed.
“This decision was made following a careful review of all the evidence presented to us by the Independent Office for Police Conduct following an investigation.
“Criminal proceedings against the two police officers are now active and they have a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”