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Former Villa star Dalian Atkinson dies after being tasered by police

Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson has died after he was shot by a police stun gun in Shropshire early on Monday morning.

Former Villa star Dalian Atkinson
Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson

Officers were called to a property, believed to be his elderly father’s house, in Meadow Close, Telford, after concerns “for the safety of an individual” were raised.

West Mercia Police said the 48-year-old man was given medical treatment after being hit by Taser, but died around 90 minutes later.

Witness Paula Quinn said she heard shouting outside and when she looked out of the window she saw two police officers and a local resident having “loud discussions”.

She told Sky News the man was “stumbling” towards the police officers.

She said: “The police officer shouted something about deploying the Taser but because the gentleman was still stumbling forwards he deployed the Taser anyway.

“Then the gentleman just dropped like a lead balloon and landed straight on the floor.”

Ms Quinn added: “It all went quiet for seconds. I can only assume the man was now subdued. Numerous police vehicles and paramedics arrived. I heard the paramedics working on him and then they took him away in the ambulance.”

Mr Atkinson was thought to have been visiting his father, believed to be aged in his 80s, who lives in the cul-de-sac.

Neighbours said the retired football star, who drives a Porsche, was well-known among people in the street, making frequent visits there.

An unnamed neighbour said: “I had known him since he was a little boy, he was a famous footballer at one time. He was friendly, he had no trouble that I know of.”

An ambulance spokesman said while the man was being taken to Princess Royal Hospital his condition deteriorated and he suffered a cardiac arrest.

He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the medical facility.

Atkinson’s wonder goal against Wimbledon during a 3-2 win in the Premiership in October 1992 was named Match of the Day’s goal of the season.

In 1994, the striker scored at Wembley as Villa beat Manchester United to lift the League Cup.

Atkinson started his career at Ipswich and then played for Sheffield Wednesday and Spanish side Real Sociedad before moving to Villa.

The police use of Tasers is intended as a non-lethal weapon.

The incident has now been referred to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

In a statement, police said: “West Mercia Police can confirm that officers responded to a report for the concern for the safety of an individual at approximately 1.30am this morning at an address in Telford.

“Upon arrival Taser was deployed and a 48-year-old man, who subsequently received medical attention, was pronounced dead at approximately 3am.”

An IPCC spokeswoman said: “IPCC investigators are at the scene gathering the available information and are attending the post incident procedures to supervise the recovery of initial evidence.

“The IPCC is conducting a full and thorough investigation into all of the circumstances surrounding his death including the use of force.”

There were 10,329 uses of Tasers by police forces in England and Wales in 2015 – a 2% increase compared with 2014.

Some 19% (1,921) were discharges – down 3% from the previous year. Sky Sports