Police officer charged with murder of Dalian Atkinson ‘exaggerated behavior to justify attack’

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Police officer charged with murder of Dalian Atkinson after firing Taser for 33 seconds, ex-footballer exaggerated behavior to justify assault, court hears

  • PC Benjamin Monk and colleague Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith charged with murder
  • Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said they used police training to exaggerate
  • She described their accounts as a ‘story that goes against the evidence’

A police officer charged with the murder of Dalian Atkinson has painted an exaggerated picture of the ex-footballer’s behavior, prosecutors claimed at the trial.

Crown attorney Alexandra Healy QC alleged that PC Benjamin Monk and his colleague Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith of the West Mercia Corps had used their police training to exaggerate the former Premier League star’s behavior and justify their own actions.

In her closing speech to a Birmingham Crown Court jury, Ms Healy described aspects of the two officers’ accounts as a ‘counter-evidence story’.

In an interview following the incident, Monk, who is accused of using unlawful force by kicking Atkinson in the head with “considerable force”, said he believed the ex-footballer was “trying to stand up very, very clearly” before he kicked. him.

Mr Atkinson, 48, was tasered for 33 seconds and had two lacerations on his forehead after the incident in Telford, Shropshire, on 15 August 2016. He subsequently died of cardiac arrest in hospital.

PC Benjamin Monk, 42, is charged with the murder of Dalian Atkinson in Telford on August 15, 2016. Pictured: PCs Benjamin Monk (right) and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith arrive at Birmingham Crown Court

PC Benjamin Monk, 42, is charged with the murder of Dalian Atkinson in Telford on August 15, 2016. Pictured: PCs Benjamin Monk (right) and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith arrive at Birmingham Crown Court

Prosecutors allege Monk used unlawful and unreasonable force in anger prior to the deaths of former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town star Atkinson in August 2016.

Monk, 43, pleaded not guilty to alternative charges of murder and manslaughter, while Bettley-Smith, 31, denies assaulting Atkinson with a baton near his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire.

Addressing the jury from the witness box of a court that had been reorganized due to Covid security measures, Ms. Healy alleged that Monk made a decision to exaggerate Atkinson’s stature to allow a 33-second Taser discharge and at least two kicks. against the 48-year-old. forehead of the old.

The court heard that Bettley-Smith had estimated Atkinson – who was six feet tall – at six feet or taller after the incident, while Monk said in a police interrogation that the ex-athlete was huge despite being an inch taller than him. .

Dalian Atkinson

Dalian Atkinson

The former football player died in hospital of cardiac arrest

The former football player died in hospital of cardiac arrest

Dalian Atkinson, 48, then died of cardiac arrest in hospital after being tasered

Ms Healy told the jury on Thursday: ‘The Crown says this exaggeration of its size description is a deliberate exaggeration because these officers knew they had to justify their actions.

“Obviously Mr. Atkinson was suffering from some sort of acute mental health crisis and was behaving rather oddly as a result.

“Mr. Atkinson was not armed, he never touched Pc Monk and never put a finger on Pc Bettley-Smith.

Police at the scene of the incident in Telford, Shropshire on August 15, 2016

Police at the scene of the incident in Telford, Shropshire on August 15, 2016

Police at the scene of the incident in Telford, Shropshire on August 15, 2016

On August 15, 2016, a barrier is placed on the residential street in Telford, Shropshire

On August 15, 2016, a barrier is placed on the residential street in Telford, Shropshire

On August 15, 2016, a barrier is placed on the residential street in Telford, Shropshire

The Crown says these two officers tried to use their training and knowledge as police officers to paint an exaggerated picture of Mr Atkinson’s behavior in an attempt to falsely convince you that the violence they used was legal.

“If you stop and take a step back, and you think, in a sensible way, it wasn’t.

“Mr Monk’s unlawful attack caused death and the Crown says he intended really serious injury.”

Monk’s counsel, Patrick Gibbs QC, is expected to address the jury later on Thursday.

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