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A JURY were told today that former Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered three times and kicked at least twice to the head by an “angry” police officer.
The jury at Birmingham Crown Court were present as West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk denies the murder and manslaughter of the 48-year-old, who also played for Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday.
Opening the crown’s case against the 42-year-old officer, who was charged after a three-year inquiry into Atkinson’s death in 2016 in Telford, prosecution counsel Alexandra Healy alleged Atkinson was tasered for 33 seconds, more than six times the standard five-second phase.
The QC told the court today that Mr Atkinson, who had serious health problems including end-stage renal failure, moved towards the officers after they were called to a disturbance in Meadow Close, Telford, at about 1.30am.
Outlining the crown’s case, the prosecutor said the third deployment of a taser by Monk was “completely effective” and caused Atkinson neuro-muscular incapacitation before he fell forwards on to the road.
The barrister told the jury: “The standard default setting of a taser is a five-second phase, but it is possible to override that by continuing to depress the trigger.
“And PC Monk continued to depress the trigger for over six times the length of a standard five-second phase. The taser was deployed for 33 seconds.”
The prosecution counsel added: “PC Monk also proceeded to kick Dalian Atkinson.
“At least two kicks were delivered by him to Dalian Atkinson’s forehead with enough force to leave the imprints of the pattern of the laces from the top of his boot on two separate areas of Mr Atkinson’s forehead.”
Monk’s colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, is also facing trial charged with assault.
She has pleaded not guilty to a charge alleging she assaulted Atkinson occasioning actual bodily harm before his death on August 15 2016.
Addressing Bettley-Smith’s alleged role, Healy claimed the younger officer had struck Atkinson, while he was lying on the ground, a number of times with her baton.
The prosecutor added of Monk: “In kicking Dalian Atkinson in the head not once, but on two separate occasions, PC Monk was not, the prosecution say, acting in self-defence or in defence of another.
“He was no doubt angry that he had been put in fear by this man.
“He chose to take that anger out on Dalian Atkinson by kicking him in the head.
“His training will have taught him, and it is obvious, that the head is a sensitive area.
“In kicking Dalian Atkinson to the head PC Monk can only, the prosecution say, have only intended to cause really serious injury.”
Describing Atkinson’s behaviour at the scene as disturbed and erratic, Healy said: “He was shouting in the street, demanding to be let into his father’s house.
“It awoke some of the neighbours, one of whom was so concerned that she phoned the police.
“The two defendants were the two police officers who attended the scene in response.
“Police Constable Monk was the more experienced officer and was armed with a taser. He was equipped, as is standard, with three taser cartridges. PC Bettley-Smith was armed with an extendable baton.”
After knocking at the door of the ex-footballer’s father’s home, Monk attempted to taser Atkinson but it was ineffective, the court heard, possibly because the two probes did not attach properly.
Atkinson then came out of the address and advanced to the end of the drive, prompting PC Monk to deploy a second taser cartridge towards Atkinson’s back, which was also ineffective.
Healy went on: “Dalian Atkinson then proceeded to punch the glass pane in the top half of the door to his father’s address, causing it to smash.
“He did not enter the house and there was a further confrontation between the officers and Dalian Atkinson.
“He had come back towards the two officers who were moved backwards away from him in the road.”
The crown alleged that Atkinson was then the subject of an unlawful attack after a taser was used for a third time.
Healy told the court: “A number of residents living in Meadow Close witnessed this attack.
“Their view was that once Dalian Atkinson had fallen to the ground he was unresponsive and still. He was no longer posing any threat to the officers. Nonetheless the two officers set about him.”
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