Police officer charged with murder of former Ipswich striker Dalian Atkinson
A police officer has appeared in court charged with the murder of former Ipswich Town striker Dalian Atkinson.
Mr Atkinson, who started his career at Ipswich in 1985, died in August 2016 after he was tasered near his father's home in Telford, Shropshire.
Police had attended after receiving reports of an argument at the property, and an officer discharged a 50,000 volt shock from a Taser into Mr Atkinson.
The 48-year-old former footballer, who also played for Aston Villa and Manchester City, suffered a cardiac arrest and later died in hospital, 90 minutes after the incident.
The two police officers charged in connection with his death appeared before a deputy district judge at Birmingham Crown Court today.
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The officers were not asked their name, address or date of birth and were referred to in court as Constables A and B.
Constable B indicated a not guilty plea to a charge of assault.
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The officer charged with murder was remanded in custody and not asked to indicate a plea.
Jenny Hopkins, from 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. 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."
Kate Maynard, a solicitor for the Atkinson family, 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."
Dalian Atkinson began his career with Ipswich Town, scoring 18 goals in 60 league games for the Blues from 1985 before joining Sheffield Wednesday in 1989.
He went on to play for top clubs including Real Sociedad, Aston Villa, and Manchester City, as well as sides in Turkey, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. The one-cap England B international retired from football in 2001.