Dalian Atkinson: PC Benjamin Monk Tasered ex-footballer for 30 seconds

3 days ago 2

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image captionFormer Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson died in 2016 in Telford, Shropshire, at the age of 48

A murder-accused PC Tasered an ex-footballer for six times longer than is standard before kicking him twice in the head, a court heard.

PC Benjamin Monk is charged with the murder of Dalian Atkinson during an altercation in Shropshire, in 2016.

He appeared at Birmingham Crown Court for the first day of his trial with co-accused PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who is charged with assault.

The former Aston Villa star died after he was Tasered for 33 seconds.

image copyrightPA Media

image captionPC Benjamin Monk deployed a Taser at Mr Atkinson three times and on the third used it for more than 30 seconds

Prosecutors said the default setting for a Taser is five seconds but Mr Monk continued to press the trigger, overriding the system for 33 seconds.

Mr Monk and Ms Bettley-Smith, officers with West Mercia Police, arrived at Mr Atkinson's father's house on Meadow Close, Telford, shortly before 01:30 BST on 15 August after neighbours had reported Mr Atkinson acting strangely and shouting in the street.

The court heard Mr Monk Tasered Mr Atkinson, who had serious health problems, three times after he came to the door acting erratically and claiming to be the Messiah.

The first two attempts were ineffective but on the third Mr Atkinson fell to the ground.

While he was unresponsive, the court heard the police officers "set about him".

image copyrightPA Media

image captionMary Ellen Bettley-Smith allegedly struck Mr Atkinson with a baton while he was incapacitated by the Taser

Mr Monk kicked him in the head with such force imprints of his boot laces were left in two locations on Mr Atkinson's forehead while Ms Bettley-Smith used her baton to strike him "a number of times" while he lay still in the road, the court was told.

Both officers deny wrongdoing. However, it is the prosecution's case that their use of force was excessive and sustained while Mr Atkinson posed no threat.

Alexandra Healy QC said Mr Monk was not acting in self-defence but was "angry" to have been "put in fear by this man".

"He chose to take that anger out on Dalian Atkinson by kicking him in the head," she said.

Ms Bettley-Smith too, she said, "was not acting in self defence or in defence of her colleague but also taking out her anger on a man who had earlier put her in fear, with the weapon she had been entrusted with to use lawfully".

Ms Healy said the officers were "entitled to use reasonable force to protect themselves" and their conduct prior to the discharge of the third Taser cartridge was not criticised.

Mr Atkinson, who had a long sporting career at a number of clubs, including Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Manchester City, died in hospital at about 02:45 that morning.

He had been suffering with high blood pressure, heart disease and end-stage renal failure.

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