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Police officer accused of killing former footballer Dalian Atkinson.

About Dalian Atkinson

Dalian Robert Atkinson was born on March 21st 1968, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England and died on August 15th 2016. He was an English football player and played as a striker. He first became famous as a teenager, amazing many experts with his daring spirit and great speed. Dalian won the football league trophy at Villa in 1994. In his career as a footballer, he played England for Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, and Manchester City. He also for several teams in the world, including Real Sociedad in Spain, Metz in Spain, Fenerbahce in Turkey, Al-Ittihad in Saud Arabia and Daejeon in South Korea.

Dalian died after being electroshocked by police near his father’s house in Trench, Telford. Police had received a call that Atkinson had threatened to kill his father, Ernest, and responded to that call. Atkinson’s elder brother, Kenroy, said his brother had lost his mind and was ranting, “He was in a manic state and under depression.” He had a dialysis tube in his shoulder, and he took it out and had blood all over. Dalian held his dad by his throat and told him that he had killed all his brothers and sisters and that he had gone to murder him. Police tasered him three times; the first two did not succeed. After the third shot, he went into cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died.

The police officer tells the jury he feared for his life.

Two officers were charged with his murder in November 2019; one was charged with a statutory offence of aggravated assault. The other was charged with murder related to Atkinson’s death. The two officers were expected to stand trial in September 2020, but they did not due to COVID-19 pandemic delays. The trial was postponed to April 2021, and both officers pleaded not guilty on the 26th of that month.

The prosecutors said on 4th may that Benjamin Monk pulled the trigger of the taser for 33 seconds which is more than the protocol of 5 seconds. He is now accused of using the taser unlawfully with unreasonable force and kicking Dalian in the head. Monk, a West Mercia Police, has rejected murder and manslaughter, and he gave evidence on Wednesday at Birmingham Crown Court.

Monk explained to the court he felt much relieved after Atkinson fell on the ground when he was tasered for the third time. He added that the first two teaser shots had not been effective. The officer also told the jury that Dalian told him during the incident; “you can shoot the taser 100,000 times, I’m the messiah- your taser will not be effective and now I will take you to the gates of hell.”

The officer, who by then had served for 14 years, was asked how he felt after the second taser became ineffective; he said, “I fecal just thinking, ‘we are done for’.” When his barrister Patrick Gibbs QC asked him what he did next, Monk answered: “Ran for my lie- we ran away.” He told the jury that was something he had never done before in his life as an officer.

The 43-year-old police officer said Atkinson was so scary. “The weapon I thought could have worked for me had failed twice, I got terrified.” Benjamin and his fellow officer PC Mary Ellen Bettley- Smith, with who he was in a relationship with at the time, had run away from Dalian and gone to a nearby residence to wait for more police officers to join them.

Atkinson had broken the glass in the front door of his father’s house. In the course of the two unsuccessful strikes of the taser, Mary Bettley requested for back-up from all the available units to the scene by activating her emergency button. Monk reported how he heard one of the back-up officers radioing, telling them they were still six minutes away.

Monk described how Dalian stopped moving toward him and stood where he was when he stroke the third taser. He added, “he fell on the ground.” Monk was again how he felt at that time, and he replied, “If the taser did not work for the third time, me, Mary Bettley and the aged man inside the house could have died, so the fact that the strike worked it was a great relief.” He added he had thought so much of running away from the ex-footballer but said they had to safeguard the gentleman inside the house.

The constable said Atkinson started taking off clothes while on the floor, which the constable thought was a way of freeing the electric shocks, so he can get up. At that moment, he remembered Bettley approaching and gave some baton strikes to the lower part of Atkinson’s legs. Monk added Mr Atkinson was then struggling to get into a position where he can get back up. Asked what he did, the officer told the jury: “I kicked him.”

The court had earlier heard evidence that Monk’s shoes had a connection with the ex-footballer’s head, but the constable confirmed that at the time, he knew he had kicked Atkinson in the shoulder. The officer also said the strength of the kick was a four out of ten, where ten is the strongest. Monk said he made that move to stop Atkinson from waking up because he thought if he got up, they would be done.

The jury had earlier heard that Monk had pulled the taser’s trigger for 33 seconds on the third time. When asked if he had been in his senses when doing that, the Taser-trained officer replied, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.” The ex-footballer passed away about 70 minutes after the occurrence. The constable told the court that he was surprised when he heard the updates from an inspector back at the station.

Bettley- Smith, 31-year-old, is also on trial. She rejects a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm by giving Mr Atkinson baton strikes.

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