Police in social media plea over Dalian Atkinson case
People have been urged not to speculate over the case against a West Mercia Police officer accused of murdering former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson in Telford.
Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell, West Mercia's policing lead for Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire, warned people not to speculate on the case while criminal proceedings are ongoing.
Writing on Twitter he said: "Please, please, all those who have already given a view or may do on use of taser and Dalian Atkinson's death bear in mind this matter is before a court, speculation helps neither the court, Mr Atkinson's family or the officers involved."
A male police officer appeared at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday accused of murdering Mr Atkinson, who died age 48, after an incident outside his father's house in Trench, Telford, on August 15, 2016.
The officer was not asked to indicate a plea regarding the murder charge, while a second officer, a woman, indicated a not guilty plea to a charge of assault.
Neither officer was named after the judge imposed reporting restrictions on the case.
Both officers have been granted unconditional bail.
A further hearing will also be held next Wednesday to discuss restrictions which prevent the media from reporting the officers’ names and addresses.
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Speaking after the Crown Prosecution Service revealed the decision to charge the officers West Mercia's Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: “Our thoughts continue to remain with the family and friends of Dalian Atkinson at this difficult time.
“We understand the need for answers, however, as court proceedings are now underway it would not be appropriate for us to make any further comment regarding the circumstances of Mr Atkinson’s death.
“The officers involved have a right to a fair trial and we will continue to make sure they have the appropriate support throughout the forthcoming criminal justice process.”
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