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Taser death ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson 'was given CPR for 35 minutes'

Published 24/08/2016

Dalian Atkinson, pictured during his playing days with Aston Villa, died after being tsered
Dalian Atkinson, pictured during his playing days with Aston Villa, died after being tsered

Hospital doctors battled in vain for 35 minutes to save ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson after he was shot with a police Taser, a coroner has heard.

Medics at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire, carried out CPR for more than half an hour after officers tasered him in the early hours of August 15 in the street where grew up in Telford.

Paramedics were called by police after the incident involving the 48-year-old former striker and immediately began working to save him.

At an inquest in Shrewsbury on Wednesday, coroner's officer Julie Hartridge said West Mercia Police officers were called at 1.39am to a "report of concern for safety" in Meadow Road, in the Trench area of Telford.

She told coroner John Ellery: "Shortly after being given Taser, Dalian Atkinson became unresponsive.

"At hospital, following 35 minutes of CPR, he was confirmed deceased."

A post-mortem examination carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki at University Hospital Coventry on August 17 concluded that cause of death was "to be advised, pending further investigation", according to Ms Hartridge.

The death of the retired striker, who lived in Holly Road, in Little Dawley, near Telford, is currently subject to criminal investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

At the inquest, Ms Hartdridge said: "On August 19 at 11am the body of Dalian Atkinson was identified to Peter French, an investigator with the IPCC, by Paul Atkinson, the brother of the deceased."

Concluding the brief opening hearing at the Shirehall, Mr Ellery said: "I adjourn this inquest for three months to November 22.

"It is subject to review pending completion of the IPCC investigation, which I am told will take nine months."

Two police officers with the West Mercia force are currently suspended pending the criminal investigation into the ex-professional footballer's death.

Last Thursday, the IPCC announced the officers were "under criminal investigation" and that as part of its inquiry the officers had also been served with gross misconduct notices.

The watchdog said it will look into the level and type of force used during the incident.

Mr Atkinson was a top-flight striker in the 1990s, starting his career at Ipswich Town then playing for Sheffield Wednesday and Spanish side Real Sociedad before moving to Villa.

He scored 23 goals in 85 appearances for the Birmingham side between 1991 and 1995, before going on to play less successfully for teams including Turkish side Fenerbahce, and Manchester City. He ended his playing career in South Korea in 2001.

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.

Campaigners have raised concerns about the safety of the stun guns and called for restrictions on their use until more is known about the risks.

Police use of Tasers, which are intended as a non-lethal weapon, went up slightly last year. Forces in England and Wales used them 10,329 times, which was a 2% rise on the previous year. However, of those 10,329 times Tasers were used, 19% (1,921) were discharges - a decrease of 3% from the previous year.

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