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Dalian Atkinson: Police officer charged with footballer murder

A police officer has been charged with the murder of retired footballer Dalian Atkinson who died after being tasered.

The ex-Aston Villa striker, 48, was restrained by police officers at his father’s house in Telford, Shropshire, on 15 August 2016.

A second police officer, also from the West Mercia Police force, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm.

Both were bailed after appearing at Birmingham Crown Court.

The Crown Prosecution Services (CPS) has not named the officers because it believes their defence will apply for them to remain anonymous.

Judge Simon Drew allowed the officers’ identities to remain undisclosed over concerns there may be a threat to their lives, although this will be reviewed at a hearing next week.

An alternative charge of unlawful act manslaughter has also been put forward by the CPS for the officer charged with murder, known as “Officer A”.

The second officer, “Officer B”, indicated she would plead not guilty and was bailed after an earlier appearance at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court.

Officer A did not indicate a plea but was also granted bail at a later hearing at the city’s crown court.

The CPS made the decision to press charges following an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Mr Atkinson’s family has been informed, a spokesperson said, and issued a statement welcoming the decision but they “regret that already more than three years have passed since Dalian died”.

Police officers attended Meadow Close in Trench, Telford, where Mr Atkinson was detained outside an address at about 01:30 BST.

He was taken by ambulance to the Princess Royal Hospital where he later died.