Statement of the family of Dalian Atkinson on the day before his funeral

From his earliest years, our beloved little brother had his heart set on becoming a professional football player.  He pursued his ambition with determination, and before he had left school, his abilities had been recognised by a talent scout working on behalf of Ipswich Town.

Dalian grew to be a kind, caring and protective brother, with a lively personality: he was funny and cheeky.  He always brought life and energy to family gatherings ― when Dalian turned up, we knew there would be laughter and banter. 

While he lived his dream and enjoyed the Premier League lifestyle, he remained a very loving son; and was deeply affected by our mother’s passing in 1999.  He never really had the heart to play anymore.

Being very health conscious and having maintained a youthful physique, he understandably struggled to come to terms with the sudden diagnosis of serious illness affecting his kidneys and his blood pressure, during the last 6 months of his life.  He tried to stay positive, but it was heart-breaking for us to see a further deterioration in his health with pneumonia, leaving his light and energy significantly reduced.

Dalian’s brother Kenroy said:

When Dalian died, there was a lot of confusion about the events surrounding his death.  Criminal and disciplinary investigations are now being conducted to get to the truth of what happened.  While these investigations are ongoing, it is crucial that no further speculation is reported and that we wait for the findings.  In the meantime, I appeal for any anyone else that saw what happened to my little brother to please come forward and speak to the IPCC.

Dalian’s sister Elaine said:

We all did our best as a family supporting Dalian and being there for him.  One comfort we have is that he knew that he was loved and he told us this.  Dalian was supposed to have been admitted to hospital for treatment on the day he died.  Tomorrow we want to celebrate Dalian’s life but the way that he died while he was so vulnerable casts such a dark shadow over everything.  Every day is filled with agony and frustration because we still do not know what happened nor understand why such force was used on him.

During the evening before Dalian died, he spoke at length to his sister, Otis, about his worries and fears about his deteriorating health and the medical care that he was getting. Reflecting on his life he told her:

“All I ever wanted was to make people happy. I played football the way that I did because I wanted to entertain. I wanted everyone to go home with smiles on their faces.”

Those wishing to send condolences or to make memorial contributions can do so via L Tranter & Son Funeral Directors Ltd.

For more information please contact:

Kate Maynard, solicitor , telephone: 00 44 (0)7812 974613

Hickman & Rose solicitors, website: http://www.hickmanandrose.co.uk

The family is supported by INQUEST http://www.inquest.org.uk