Former Ipswich Town star died after being Tasered and 'kicked', murder trial hears

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

Dalian Atkinson played for Ipswich Town from 1985 to 1989

Ex-Ipswich Town player star Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered three times and kicked at least twice to the head by an "angry" police officer, a murder trial jury has heard.

West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk denies the murder and manslaughter of the 48-year-old former footballer, who also played for Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Real Sociedad. 

Opening the prosecution case against the 42-year-old officer, who was charged after a three-year inquiry into Mr Atkinson's death in 2016 in Telford, Shropshire, barrister Alexandra Healy alleged the ex-footballer was Tasered for 33 seconds, more than six times the standard five-second phase.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court were told on Tuesday 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.

Ms Healy said the third deployment of a Taser by Monk was "completely effective" and caused Mr Atkinson neuro-muscular incapacitation before he fell forwards onto the road.

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

She 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.

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"The Taser was deployed for 33 seconds."

Ms Healy 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 Mr Atkinson occasioning actual bodily harm before his death on August 15, 2016.

The court heard that Monk, who has 14 years' service in uniform, and Bettley-Smith, who joined the force in February 2015, were in a relationship at the time of the incident.

Dalian Atkinson went on to star at Aston Villa

The striker also played for Aston Villa during his career - Credit: Archant

Addressing Bettley-Smith's alleged role, Ms Healy claimed the younger officer had struck Mr Atkinson, while he was lying on the ground, a number of times with her baton.

Atkinson made 64 appearances for Town and scored 21 goals in a four-year spell from 1985 to 1989.  

The Blues sold the striker to Sheffield Wednesday in 1989 for £450,000. 

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."

After knocking at the door of the ex-footballer's father's home, Monk attempted to Taser Mr Atkinson but it was ineffective, the court heard, possibly because the two probes did not attach properly.

Mr 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 Mr Atkinson's back, which was also ineffective.

Dalian Atkinson receives the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Middlesborough in April 19

PC Benjamin Monk has denied the murder and manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson

Ms Healy said: "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."

Prosecutors allege Mr Atkinson was then the subject of an unlawful attack after a Taser was used for a third time.

Ms 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."

The trial continues. 

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