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Dalian Atkinson: UK Police officer found guilty of manslaughter of former professional footballer

dalian atkinson

A police officer has been found guilty of the manslaughter of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson.

The former Aston Villa striker died after a stand-off with West Mercia police officers outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire in 2016.

PC Benjamin Monk, 43, was cleared by jurors of an alternative charge of murder.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard Monk tasered Mr Atkinson for 33 seconds and kicked him twice in the head.

He denied any wrongdoing and said he believed there was a danger to life for him and his colleague.

PC Monk arrives at court on 17 June
IMAGE COPYRIGHTPA MEDIA image captionPC Benjamin Monk was found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Atkinson but cleared of his murder

Mr Atkinson began his career at Ipswich Town before moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad and Aston Villa.

Following a six-week-trial, jurors took 18 hours and 48 minutes to reach unanimous verdicts on Monk, who has 14 years’ service.

They are still deliberating on an assault charge relating to Monk’s colleague and former girlfriend, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31.

Dalian Atkinson in his Ipswich Town kit
IMAGE COPYRIGHTIPSWICH TOWN image captionAtkinson started his career at Ipswich Town, before moving to Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, Aston Villa and Fenerbahçe
The trial heard how the pair were called to Mr Atkinson’s father’s house in Meadow Close in the early hours of 15 August, where the the sportsman had been acting erratically.

Monk told the court he ran in fear after Mr Atkinson, who appeared to be having a mental health crisis, made death threats and smashed a glass door pane.


The trial heard Monk had discharged his Taser three times at Mr Atkinson, twice unsuccessfully, but on the third time he overrode the system, holding down the trigger for 33 seconds – more than six times the standard deployment.

Police officer and car in Meadow Close
IMAGE COPYRIGHTPA MEDIA image captionPolice were called to Meadow Close in Trench, Telford on 15 August, where Mr Atkinson was reported to have been acting erratically

The officer claimed to have no recollection of placing his foot on Mr Atkinson’s head as colleagues arrived at the scene.

However he conceded he must have kicked the ex-footballer twice in the forehead, because bootlace prints proved he had.

Monk maintained his actions were lawful self-defence, made necessary when the former Premier league star tried to get up.

Dalian Atkinson
IMAGE COPYRIGHTMAGNUM PHOTOS image captionThe striker famously scored the opener in Aston Villa’s 1994 League Cup final win over Manchester United

Mr Atkinson, who had a number of underlying health conditions, went into cardiac arrest after being taken from the scene in an ambulance, and was pronounced dead in hospital at 02:45 BST – about an hour after he was tasered.

According to the charity Inquest, 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 the 1980s.

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Written by The Editor

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