Former Aston Villa forward Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered three times and kicked at least twice in the head by an “angry” police officer, a murder enquiry jury has been told.
Birmingham Crown Court has heard that Atkinson, 48, was killed after a confrontation with West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk, who denies claims of murder and manslaughter after he was charged following a three-year investigation into the circumstances surrounding Atkinson’s death in Telford, UK in 2016.
The prosecution claims that Atkinson was tasered for a total of 33 seconds, a time which is nearly six times higher than the standard five-second discharge that police officers are required to use.
The court was told that Atkinson, who was suffering from end-stage renal failure, approached officers after they were called to the scene of a disturbance at around 1.30am local time.
“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,” said prosecution counsel Alexandra Healy, who also told the court that Atkinson was kicked in the head at least twice.
“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.
“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.“
A second police officer, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, is also charged with assault related to the incident, to which she has pleaded not guilty. The prosecution claims that Bettley-Smith struck Atkinson with a baton a number of times while he was incapacitated on the ground.
Ex #avfc striker Dalian Atkinson wouldn’t have died in August 2016 had he not been tasered by police for more than 6x the standard duration, and kicked in the head twice, a court has heard. Taser lasted 33seconds, and the kicks were so hard imprint of laces left on his forehead.
— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) May 4, 2021
“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,” continued Healy.
“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, the prosecution say, have only intended to cause really serious injury.”
Atkinson also represented the likes of Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Fenerbahce and Manchester City during a career that lasted between 1985 and 2001.
He is perhaps best remembered for a stunning solo goal for Villa against Wimbledon in 1992 which earned him ‘Goal of the Season’ honors.
The trial continues.