Taser ‘activated for 80 seconds’ before death of ex-Town star, court told

Dalian Atkinson playing for Ipswich in 1988. (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

Dalian Atkinson playing for Ipswich Town in 1988 - Credit: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Data on a Taser used on ex-Ipswich Town star Dalian Atkinson revealed it was activated for more than 80 seconds, a jury has been told.

Atkinson, who started his career at Portman Road in 1985, died on August 15, 2016 after being Tasered outside his father's home in Telford, Shropshire.

West Mercia police constable Benjamin Monk is alleged to have intended to cause really serious injury to Atkinson, who also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and the England B team.

Monk's then-colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, is also facing trial after denying a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

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

Prosecutors claim Monk, who denies murder and manslaughter, used unlawful and unreasonable force during a final 33-second firing of the Taser, and by then kicking the former Blues striker in the head.

On Tuesday, the trial at Birmingham Court Court was told the Taser recorded periods when its trigger was pressed, but did not show whether it had been effective in delivering an electrical charge.

Jurors had previously been told three Taser cartridges were deployed by Monk in dealing with Atkinson, who died in hospital shortly after the incident.

Witness Graham Smith told the trial on Tuesday he downloaded data from the Taser and confirmed it was working to its manufacturer’s specifications.

Mr Smith said the Taser - which was shown to jurors - only administered a charge if two probes were able to form a complete circuit.

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Prosecuting, QC Alexandra Healy asked Mr Smith: "All it (the data) tells you is the duration that the charge was produced by the Taser, it doesn’t tell you whether or not that was effectively applied to anyone?"

He replied: "No it doesn’t. All it tells you is how long it sparked for. It doesn’t tell you whether that sparking was effective."

Detailing a table of eight different Taser “applications” during a four-minute period, Ms Healy asked Mr Smith to confirm data showing three initial activations, then four “closely connected” readings, and a final eighth deployment lasting 33 seconds.

After Mr Smith explained the readings were rounded up to the nearest second, meaning some of the data showed a “zero-second gap”, Ms Healy said there was a seven-second Taser application at 1.37am, followed by a two-second pause, and then further applications of 14 and five seconds.

The trial continues.

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