Taser ‘activated eight times’ before the death of Dalian Atkinson, court told

Dalian Atkinson death
Dalian Atkinson death (PA Wire)
18:42pm, Tue 18 May 2021
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Data from the Taser used on ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson showed it was activated eight times for a total of more than 80 seconds, a jury has heard.

Prosecutors claim West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk, who denies murder and manslaughter, used unlawful and unreasonable force during a final 33-second firing of the Taser, and by then kicking former Aston Villa star Atkinson in the head.

The third week of Monk’s trial at Birmingham Court Court was told the Taser recorded periods when its trigger was pressed, but did not show whether it had been effective in delivering an electrical charge.

Dalian Atkinson death (PA Archive)

Jurors have heard three Taser cartridges were deployed by Pc Monk before Mr Atkinson, who later died in hospital, was handcuffed near his father’s home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of August 15 2016.

Witness Graham Smith told the trial on Tuesday he downloaded data from the Taser and established it was working to its manufacturer’s specifications, after it was sent to the Home Office’s Centre for Applied Science and Technology in September 2016.

Answering questions put to him by prosecution QC Alexandra Healy, Mr Smith said the Taser – which was shown to jurors by an usher – only administered a charge to someone if two probes were able to form a complete circuit.

Ms Healy asked the witness: “All it (the data) tells you is the duration that the charge was produced by the Taser, it doesn’t tell you whether or not that was effectively applied to anyone?”

Mr Smith replied: “No it doesn’t. All it tells you is how long it sparked for. It doesn’t tell you whether that sparking was effective.”

Dalian Atkinson File Photo (PA Wire)

Detailing a table of eight different Taser “applications” during a four-minute period in the early hours of August 15, Ms Healy asked Mr Smith to confirm data showing three initial activations, then four “closely connected” readings, and a final eighth deployment lasting 33 seconds.

After Mr Smith explained the readings were rounded up to the nearest second, meaning some of the data showed a “zero-second gap”, Ms Healy said there was a seven-second Taser application at 1:37:20am, followed by a two-second pause, and then further applications of 14 and five seconds.

The prosecutor told the court: “We then have a longer gap of 16 seconds before the next four relatively closely connected applications (totalling 22 seconds).”

After Mr Smith confirmed the timings as correct, Ms Healy asked him: “Then we have two minutes 54 seconds before the final Taser application, which you have found on the download, which was 33 seconds?”

Mr Smith answered: “That’s right.”

Pc Monk, 42, is alleged to have intended to cause really serious injury to Atkinson, who also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town, after initial uses of the Taser proved ineffective.

Pc Monk’s colleague and then partner, Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, is also facing trial.

She denies a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The trial continues.

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