A police constable has appeared in court having been charged with the murder of former Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson.
Mr Atkinson, 48, went into cardiac arrest and died after being Tasered near his father’s Telford home on August 15, 2016.
The West Mercia Police officer - known as 'Officer A' - accused of his murder appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ and Crown courts today alongside a colleague, 'Officer B', who faces a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.
Judge Simon Drew QC ruled to withhold the identity of both defendants after lawyers raised fears for their safety.
As well as murder, Officer A, a male, has also been charged with unlawful act manslaughter as an alternative offence.
The Crown Prosecution Service said this “is a lesser offence that a jury may consider if it first finds that the more serious charge has not been proved”.
Officer B indicated that she would plead not guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm at the magistrates' hearing.
Both were granted unconditional bail.
Relatives of Mr Atkinson, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, said the striker had a number of health problems and a weak heart.
Solicitor Kate Maynard 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.”
A hearing will be held next Wednesday to look at the reporting restrictions on the defendants’ identities and a plea and trial preparation hearing is scheduled for December 9.