Jurors told police alleged to have 'colluded' over Dalian Atkinson's death

Dalian Atkinson, who died in 2016 after receiving a taser shock
Picture: OWEN HINES

Dalian Atkinson, who died in 2016 after receiving a taser shock Picture: OWEN HINES

Police officers accused of unlawfully attacking former Ipswich Town footballer Dalian Atkinson allegedly "colluded" in their account of what happened, a court has heard.

The Crown alleges Pc Benjamin Monk murdered the retired soccer star by kicking him in the head intending serious harm, while the officer's then partner, Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who denies assault, struck blows with a baton out of anger.

The second day of the officers' trial at Birmingham Crown Court was told by Monk's lawyer that the 42-year-old does not dispute kicking Atkinson in the head twice, despite telling investigators he believed he had delivered a single kick to what he thought was the shoulder area to "restrain and control" Mr Atkinson.

West Mercia Police Constables Benjamin Monk (right) and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith (left) arrive at Bi

West Mercia Police Constables Benjamin Monk (right) and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith (left) arrive at Birmingham Crown Court to stand trial - Credit: Jacob King/PA Wire

Monk denies murder and manslaughter, and Bettley-Smith has pleaded not guilty to assault.

The trial has heard that Atkinson, who made 64 appearances for Town and scored 21 goals in a four-year spell from 1985 to 1989, went into cardiac arrest after a Taser was deployed for 33 seconds, six times longer than is standard.


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Prosecution QC Alexandra Healy said the jury would have to consider whether Monk had intended to cause really serious injury.

Alleging Bettley-Smith had colluded in her account surrounding the kicks to Mr Atkinson's head, Ms Healy told the court: "The prosecution say that once that last Taser deployment had been totally effective, causing Dalian Atkinson to fall to the ground as a result of neuromuscular incapacitation... the officers were no longer acting in self-defence.

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"Rather they acted in anger as a result of the fear that Dalian Atkinson had just put them through.

"Having been afraid earlier, they were angry about it, the prosecution say.

"Delivering two forceful kicks to Mr Atkinson's head cannot have been an act in reasonable self-defence. It is difficult to see how a kick to the head could ever be a reasonable act taken to prevent Mr Atkinson from getting up.

"The prosecution say that Pc Bettley-Smith appears to have colluded in not telling the truth about the kicks to the head.

"The prosecution say the similarity of the accounts is indicative that the two officers have discussed between themselves how best to account for their unlawful attack on an unarmed man."

Defence QC Patrick Gibbs, for Pc Monk, said the officer does not dispute kicking the ex-footballer twice in the head - but only did so while he was "terrified". He urged jurors to keep an open mind until they had heard all the evidence.

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