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  1. ITV Report

Police officers could face criminal charges over death of Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson

Dalian Atkinson died after he was tasered during an incident in 2016. Credit: PA

The death of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson has been referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to consider potential criminal charges against two police officers.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation following the death of the striker in 2016 after he was shot with a police Taser in Telford.

The IOPC said three West Mercia police officers were interviewed twice under caution and served gross misconduct notices following Mr Atkinson's death.

The third officer has not been referred to the CPS, the IOPC said in a statement.

A sign paying tribute to the late striker in Villa Park, Birmingham. Credit: PA

At the request of the CPS, an expert report from a further pathologist is being awaited to assist prosecutors with their consideration, an IOPC spokesman said.

"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 spokesman added.

The watchdog's regional director, Derrick Campbell, said: "On the basis of the evidence gathered I have decided to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any potential criminal charges over the interaction two police officers had with Dalian Atkinson.

"This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and I am grateful for the patience shown by all concerned.

"We have kept West Mercia Police, Dalian's family, and HM Coroner informed during the course of the investigation."

The West Mercia force have also been sent the IOPC investigation report to determine whether or not disciplinary proceedings should follow.

Aston Villa manager Ron Atkinson holds the Coca-Cola cup with Dalian Atkinson who scored a goal at Villa's 3-1 victory over Manchester United in 1994. Credit: PA

Relatives of the retired 48-year-old, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, said he was suffering a number of health issues and had a weak heart when a Taser was deployed at about 1.30am on August 15, 2016.

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

In its statement issued on Thursday, the IOPC said its 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.

A statement issued by Mr Atkinson's siblings after his death read: "Dalian grew to be a kind, caring and protective brother, with a lively personality: he was funny and cheeky.

"He always brought life and energy to family gatherings - when Dalian turned up, we knew there would be laughter and banter."

At the time, West Mercia Police said officers were called amid concerns "for the safety of an individual".