Reggae star Smiley Culture died from stab wound to heart

The family of reggae star Smiley Culture said police had "a lot to answer to" after his death earlier this week.









The singer, whose real name was David Emmanuel, died at his home in Surrey on Tuesday morning following a police raid.



His family have been told he stabbed himself while making a cup of tea in his kitchen while police were still inside his home.



Smiley Culture, 48, found fame with a string of 1980s' hits including Cockney Translation and appeared on Top of the Pops.



His family are now demanding an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.



His relative Merlin Emmanuel told a packed press conference in Brixton, south London today: "The police have yet to give an official statement as to what happened.



"We haven't had a clear, coherent, official explanation as to what happened to Smiley.



"The police have a lot to answer to. Until our questions, queries and suspicions have been fully and competently answered to dispel any notion of foul play, we will not rest.



"The truth must be known. Justice must be served.



"Fact - Smiley Culture died at his home from a single stab wound whilst in police custody while they let him go and make a cup of tea."



Police watchdog the IPCC has launched an investigation into the death.



Merlin Emmanuel said the family had been inundated with thousands of messages of support from across the world.



He added: "On behalf of the Emmanuel family I would like to express our deep sorrow and anger about the events that led to the death of our beloved David Emmanuel.



"As a family we are in a state of shock and confusion and we are determined to search for the truth of what happened on the morning of March 15 2011, a day that will now be forever etched in our minds.



"My uncle David Emmanuel is now dead. He was a father, an uncle, a friend and a mentor to many and is a British icon who died under the most peculiar of circumstances. Smiley was the first recognised British rapper."



In September last year he appeared before magistrates charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine and was due to appear in court in the coming days.



But Mr Emmanuel explained: "Smiley had a great deal to look forward to. It is true that he had an impending case but it is also true that the evidence in relation to this case was minimal and he along with his legal team were supremely confident of being acquitted this coming week."









Family spokesman and race equality campaigner Lee Jasper said: "I've never heard the kind of scenario that was explained to me in relation to Smiley Culture's death.



"Even if you were to accept that it was true it would still be bizarre, so given that there is very little trust and confidence in the police it's no wonder that the vast majority of people who hear this tale are struck down with disbelief and anger."



Smiley Culture's 1984 hit single Police Officer was an autobiographical song of how he was caught in possession of cannabis but let off when the officer recognised him as a reggae artist.



Speaking about the hit, he told the Guardian last year: "My hit single Police Officer was a true story - the police used to take my weed. It was better than being arrested, and I made that into a hit."



Dancehall MC Asher Senator, a long-time friend, said: "Culture was original, there was no one like him, his courage was extreme.



"He was very confident and very clever. People would be talking and Culture would be thinking about next week, while we are thinking about £5, Culture's thinking about £5 million."







The IPCC confirmed today that the singer died of a single stab wound to the heart.



Outlining the details of the raid, in IPCC spokesman said: "The facts that have been established so far are that, at approximately 7am on Tuesday 15 March 2011, four MPS officers went to Mr Emmanuel's house on Hillbury Road in Warlingham, Surrey, to execute a search warrant.



"Later the same morning, at approximately 8.30am, an ambulance was called to attend the address by the MPS officers. An air ambulance crew arrived but Mr Emmanuel died at the scene.



"The case was referred to the IPCC and an independent investigation was launched."



Forensic experts are examining items which have been recovered from the address, including the knife.



IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: "I send my condolences to Mr Emmanuel's family and friends. I understand their concerns and am under no illusion about the seriousness of this case, its impact on them and the wider community."



He said the investigation was examining the basis on which MPS officers went to Surrey to carry out the search warrant, how that was planned, how it was communicated with Surrey Police and what happened while officers were at the address.



The investigation will also focus on the response of the officers present to examine what was done in terms of first aid.



Mr Franklin added: "Many of the questions that I know Mr Emmanuel's family and friends have are exactly what we will be examining as part of this investigation.



"I want to reassure people that we will thoroughly scrutinise this incident and will update all those involved as we progress.



"I will also make the findings of our investigation public at the earliest opportunity. Until then, I would ask that speculation is avoided."

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?