Reggae musician Smiley Culture died following injuries received from a self-inflicted knife wound during a property search following his arrest by UK Metropolitan police, an inquest jury has been told. Police witnesses will be testifying that Culture’s mood dramatically shifted towards the end of the search of his Surry property before he plunged a kitchen knife into his own chest.
Police were sent to his residence to place the singer under arrest and conduct a thorough search of his property. Culture, real name David Emmanuel, was under the watch of law enforcement during the search, after it was alleged he was attempting to import a Class A drug into the UK. Two officers who were at the scene are expected to give evidence under the names of Witness One and Witness Two, says Surrey coroner Richard Travers.
As relayed by Travers, according to the two witnesses the moments leading up to the incident were civil, with Emmanuel making himself tea on multiple occasions. The musician was said “to be relaxed and they chatted about a variety of things” before his demeanour “changed completely” and, towards the end of the search, stood up to reveal he was holding a large kitchen knife.
Travers explained that one “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 Two, ‘Do you fucking want some of this?’ Or, ‘What about this?’ Emmanuel’s face and body language had completely changed, he became angry and was screaming.” The jury is expected to hear evidence that Emmanuel then drove the knife directly into his own chest.
At the time of the incident, Emmanuel and two co-defendants were already awaiting trial over allegations of “being concerned” in supplying a Class A drug. Emmanuel had pleaded not guilty.
Throughout the 1980s, Smiley Culture was behind a string of successful tracks, including Cockney Translation and Police Officer, and made an appearance on Top Of The Pops. He was 48 years old.
Watch: Smiley Culture performs Police Officer on TOTP, circa 1985
(Via The Guardian)