A WEST Mercia Police officer has been charged with murdering an ex-Premier League footballer with a Taser.

The former Aston Villa striker, Dalian Atkinson, died after being Tasered by an officer on August 15, 2016.

The officer appeared at Birmingham Crown Court along with a colleague who has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.

Judge Simon Drew QC ruled that neither of the officers could be identified after lawyers raised fears for their safety and also granted them unconditional bail.

A further hearing will be held next Wednesday (November 13) to discuss reporting restrictions.

The police officers were only referred to as Constables A and B and were not asked to give their age or addresses.


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Constable "B" indicated that she would plead not guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm at the magistrates' hearing.

Male officer "A" has also been charged with unlawful act manslaughter as an alternative offence which, the Crown Prosecution Service said, "is a lesser offence that a jury may consider if it first finds that the more serious charge has not been proved".

Mr Atkinson, 48, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, died after police used a Taser near his father's house during an incident in the Trench area of Telford.

Relatives said Mr Atkinson was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart.

He went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital and medics were unable to save him.

Speaking on behalf of the family of Mr Atkinson, solicitor Kate Maynard, of Hickman and Rose, said: "Dalian's family welcomes the decision to put the conduct of police officers before a jury but regrets that already more than three years have passed since Dalian died."

The decision to charge both officers comes after the case was referred to the CPS to consider potential charges by the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Three West Mercia Police officers were interviewed twice under criminal caution and served with gross misconduct notices following Mr Atkinson's death.