20 May 2021

Policeman accused of ex footballer’s murder said he was ‘terrified’ before firing Taser

20 May 2021

A policeman accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson told investigators he was “absolutely terrified” and felt his brain had stopped working before he tasered the ex-footballer to the ground, a court has heard.

Pc Benjamin Monk also claimed in a post-incident interview that he did not know when he had taken his finger off the trigger during the final 33-second tasering of the former Aston Villa star.

In interviews read to the third week of his trial, Monk said he believed Atkinson was “very, very obviously attempting to get up” before he kicked him in Meadow Close, Telford, on August 15 2016.

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Media)

Monk, who denies murder and manslaughter, is standing trial alongside fellow West Mercia Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who denies assault after striking Atkinson with a baton.

Addressing jurors at Birmingham Crown Court, prosecutor Paul Jarvis read out summaries and extracts from interviews with both officers conducted on August 26 2016.

In his first interview, the court heard, Monk said he had arrived in Meadow Close and heard a “pleading” voice and a “wild” louder male inside Atkinson’s father’s house.

Monk told police he then heard someone say: “You have called the police. Stop where you are, I am going to go and sort it.”

The 42-year-old constable described Atkinson as “massive” and claimed the size of the former Premier League forward, who also played for Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, had left him taken aback, although it may have been accentuated by the fact he was initially standing on a step.

In the interview, Pc Monk said: “By now I was completely and utterly taken aback because the bloke was huge, quite simply huge.

“The bloke was towering above me, absolutely towering. His shoulders literally filled the frame of the door.

“The way he contorted his face literally for the entire incident… the contortion was one of complete and utter rage. It was absolutely surreal.”

According to Monk’s account, Atkinson had the “biggest and wildest” eyes he had ever seen.

Summarising Monk’s comments to the interviewing officers, Mr Jarvis added: “In Pc Monk’s mind the only equipment he had had on his person that had a chance of being effective against Mr Atkinson was his Taser.”

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Archive)

Monk told police that Atkinson, who died in hospital, had claimed he was “the Messiah” and could not even have been tasered with “100,000 volts”.

Mr Jarvis told the court: “Pc Monk described himself as being absolutely terrified. In 15 years in the police service he had not experienced anything like this.

“Pc Monk said he was running for his life. It felt like his brain was not working.”

The jury heard Monk said he was shell-shocked about the incident, his heart was pumping and he felt traumatised.

The court heard the defendant also told interviewing officers that quantifying Atkinson’s rage would be “impossible”.

Asked when he had taken his finger off the trigger during the third firing of the Taser, the last of eight activations of the weapon, Pc Monk responded: “I don’t know.”

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