Former Aston Villa striker dies after being tasered by police

Dalian Atkinson (right), with former boss Ron Atkinson, died after he was tasered by police in Telford early on Monday. Picture: PA
Dalian Atkinson (right), with former boss Ron Atkinson, died after he was tasered by police in Telford early on Monday. Picture: PA

Former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson, who has died after being Tasered by police, had been battling kidney problems and had a weak heart.

The 48-year-old’s nephew claimed officers would not have used the stun gun if they had known the ex-striker’s medical history.

Mr Atkinson died 90 minutes after he was hit with a Taser in the street where he grew up in Telford, Shropshire, at 1.30am yesterday.

He had undergone dialysis and neighbours said he had spent an extended period in hospital.

Speaking near where his uncle was hit with the stun gun, Fabian Atkinson said: “He had some health issues he was trying to get through and that’s why his heart was weak.”

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

His former friend and team-mate Carlton Palmer said he had struggled after his sporting career ended.

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“It can be difficult for players when they finish and I know Dalian found it difficult,” Palmer said. “

Mr Atkinson’s father Ernest, 85, reportedly said his son was agitated before he was Tasered, and neighbour Paula Quinn said he appeared to be “almost staggering” in the street.

Ms Quinn claimed Mr Atkinson went down “like a lead balloon” after being hit by the weapon.

Tributes were paid by the footballing world, with Villa tweeting: “RIP Dalian Atkinson. You’ll never be forgotten!”

Neighbours said he was well-known in the cul-de-sac where he grew up, making frequent visits to see his father.

It follows the death in June of ex-soldier Spencer Beynon, who was Tasered by police in Llanelli, South Wales, 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.

Mr Atkinson was a top-flight striker in the 1990s, and was famed for a goal for league runners-up Aston Villa against Wimbledon, which followed a mazy run from inside his own half, which was voted 1992-93 goal of the season.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission: “We are conducting a full and thorough investigation.”

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