09 June 2021

Policeman accused of murder has not been honest in his account, jury told

09 June 2021

The prosecutor in the trial of a policeman accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson has urged jurors to consider five “facts” surrounding the officer’s evidence – including three allegedly showing a “convenient” loss of memory.

Beginning her closing address in the sixth week of the trial of Pc Benjamin Monk, Crown counsel Alexandra Healy QC claimed the constable had not been honest in police interviews or during his account to the court.

Prosecutors claim the West Mercia Police officer used unlawful and unreasonable force out of anger, prior to the death of former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town star Atkinson in August 2016.

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Archive)

The Crown alleges Monk murdered the retired striker by excessive use of a Taser and kicking him in the head at least twice, intending serious harm.

The 43-year-old has pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of murder and manslaughter, while 31-year-old Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith denies assaulting Atkinson with a baton outside his father’s home in Meadow Close, Trench, Telford, after the ex-footballer made threats and smashed a window.

Addressing jurors at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, Ms Healy highlighted “five facts” that she said the defence accepted “even if the defendants claim not to be able to remember.”

Ms Healy told the jury that Monk’s alleged lack of memory of three of the facts – that he kicked Atkinson at least twice to the head, had his foot on the 48-year-old’s head when colleagues arrived, and told others at the scene he had kicked him in the head – was “nothing more than a barricade to shelter behind”.

The prosecutor told the 11-strong jury panel: “Those three really important facts are all matters that he now claims to have no memory of.

“Convenient, you may think, because those three are facts that cause a great deal of damage, you may think, to his case that whatever he did was part of an instinctive desire to protect the life and limbs of them and others.”

Ms Healy added: “He was not honest in his interview and he has not been honest with you about his actions that morning and about his reasons for it.

“Mr Monk told his colleagues in the early hours of that morning that he had kicked Dalian Atkinson to the head.

“He expects you to believe that when he was interviewed only 10 days later, perhaps as a result of the stress of the occasion, that that important detail had slipped his mind.

“The Crown say the truth is all too apparent – Mr Monk has always known what he did… and as soon as he became aware of the full consequences of his actions, he realised how damaging that admission was, and he has sought to row back from it by claiming he can no longer remember.”

The trial continues.

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