Reggae star Smiley Culture plunged knife into his chest after arrest, inquest told

48-year-old singer died from a single knife wound

John Hall
Wednesday 12 June 2013 16:37
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Smiley Culture plunged a kitchen knife into his own chest after being arrested at his home, a police officer has claimed at an inquest into the reggae star's death.

The police officer, named only as Witness 2, said the singer "changed completely" after a relaxed chat over a cup of tea during a police search of his home.

The 48-year-old, whose real name was David Emmanuel, is said to have "very suddenly and without warning" produced a large kitchen knife as he screamed threats at the officers.

Surrey Coroner Richard Travers told an inquest jury: "You will hear from Witness 2 that, when they were coming to the end of the search... Mr Emmanuel very suddenly and without warning stood up and Witness 2 realised for the first time that he, Mr Emmanuel, had a large kitchen knife in his hand.

"The officer says that he shouted out 'knife' so as to warn his colleagues, at which point, Mr Emmanuel, he says, held out his arm and screamed at Witness 2 'Do you f****** want some of this?' Or 'What about this?'

"Witness 2 will tell you that Mr Emmanuel's face and body language had completely changed, he became angry and was screaming.

"He will tell you that he, Mr Emmanuel, then held the knife with both hands and plunged it into his own chest."

Mr Travers, who was opening the inquest in Woking before a jury, said that four Metropolitan Police officers went to Mr Emmanuel's home, in Warlingham, Surrey, at 7am on March 15 2011 to arrest the singer and to search the premises.

The police inquiries concerned allegations of conspiring to import class A drugs into the UK, he said.

He said that, at the time of his death, Mr Emmanuel was already awaiting trial at Croydon Crown Court along with two co-defendants over allegations of "being concerned" in the supply of a Class A drug, to which he had pleaded not guilty.

He told the jurors they would hear evidence from Witness 2 that he had been in the kitchen with Mr Emmanuel and had been completing a record of potential evidence while the other three officers searched the house.

"For his part you will hear from Witness 2's evidence, Mr Emmanuel to be relaxed and they chatted about a variety of things," Mr Travers told the jury.

"Mr Emmanuel was allowed to make himself a mug of tea on more than one occasion."

The 48-year-old star, who found fame with a string of 1980s hits including Cockney Translation and appeared on Top of the Pops, was found to have died from a single stab wound to the heart.

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