Jury considers verdict in trial of Pc accused of assaulting Dalian Atkinson

Aston Villa – Dalian Atkinson (PA Archive)
0:33am, Thu 24 Jun 2021
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A jury is to continue its deliberations in the trial of a police officer accused of assaulting ex-Premier League star Dalian Atkinson

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court is considering its verdict in the case against Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith.

On Wednesday, her West Mercia Police colleague, Pc Benjamin Monk, was convicted of the manslaughter of the 48 year-old former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town striker following a six-week trial.

The court was told Monk fired a Taser three times – including a single 33-second discharge – and kicked the footballer so hard he left two bootlace prints on Atkinson’s forehead near his father’s home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire, on August 15 2016.

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Wire)

Bettley-Smith denies assaulting the former player with a baton after he was tasered for a third time, claiming the blows were necessary when he tried to get back to his feet.

Jurors have heard evidence from other police officers, witnesses, medical professionals and both accused officers.

Monk’s conviction is believed to be the first time in modern British criminal justice history a UK police officer has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a black man, according to Inquest, which supports the bereaved following state-related deaths.

According to the charity, no police officer has been found guilty of murder or manslaughter over a death in custody or following police contact in England and Wales since 1986.

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Wire)

Prosecutors said Monk had exaggerated the threat posed by Atkinson and lied about the events to justify excessive and unlawful force.

After the verdict, Monk was condemned by relatives of the former footballer who said they had been “sickened to hear” the 43-year-old try to minimise his use of a Taser and two kicks to his victim’s head.

The trial was told Atkinson went into cardiac arrest after being taken from the scene in an ambulance, and was pronounced dead in hospital at 2.45am – about an hour after he was Tasered.

Prosecutors said Monk lied about the number of kicks he had delivered to the former sportsman’s head by claiming he could remember only one aimed at his shoulder.

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