Dalian Atkinson: Murder-accused PC says he thought he was 'going to die'

2 June 2021, 20:20 | Updated: 2 June 2021, 20:38

PC Monk denies murder and manslaughter
PC Monk denies murder and manslaughter. Picture: PA/Karen Wright

By Will Taylor

A police officer accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson said he thought he was "going to die" during his encounter with the ex-Aston Villa footballer, a court has heard.

West Mercia Police Constable Benjamin Monk denies murder and manslaughter. Prosecutors say he used unlawful and unreasonable force as he fired a Taser for 33 seconds then kicked Mr Atkinson in his head.

Monk, 43, said the kick was "instinctive", telling jurors he was "terrified" that he and his colleague "were going to die" in the August 15 2016 incident – but insisted he didn't want to harm him.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court heard how three Taser cartridges were used by Monk. Mr Atkinson was then handcuffed near his father's home in Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of that day.

The officer and his colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who he was seeing at the time, were sent to the address after a report of a concern about the welfare of the elderly occupant.

Monk, an officer of 14 years, said two previous Taser strikes had not worked and he needed to switch to his third and final cartridge.

He told jurors Mr Atkinson allegedly said to him "you can put 100,000 volts through me, I'm the f****** messiah - your Taser won't work and now I'm going to take you to the gates of hell".

Mr Atkinson died after being tasered and kicked in the head, a court has heard
Mr Atkinson died after being tasered and kicked in the head, a court has heard. Picture: PA

After the second Taser strike failed, Monk said he felt he and his colleague were "done for", and he "ran for my life".

"He (Mr Atkinson) was very, very scary," Monk continued.

"And the device which I thought might work for me, hadn't worked and I was terrified."

The officers backed away while calling for support from fellow officers.

Monk said he Tasered Mr Atkinson a third time, and the ex-footballer stopped moving and fell to the floor.

"The fear I had when he was coming towards me knowing I was on the last (Taser) cartridge, and everything else had failed,” Monk said.

"In concert with that, if this cartridge didn't work, Ellie (Bettley-Smith), me, the gentleman inside the house, were potentially done for - so the fact it worked it was a big relief."

The officer said he believed Mr Atkinson then tried to pick off the Taser's electricity barbs to get back up, while Bettley-Smith struck his legs with a baton.

Believing Mr Atkinson was trying to get up, he kicked the 48-year-old, Monk said.

He added that he believed the kick was "about a four" out of ten in terms of force and added: "I wanted Mr Atkinson to stop getting up because I thought if he's going to get up, we were going to die."

Monk denied a witness' account that he stamped on Mr Atkinson, and denied telling Bettley-Smith to "f****** hit him".

He said a difference in his accounts - having previously told an interview at the time that he kicked Mr Atkinson in the shoulder, not the head - was because he wished it had gone differently.

Bettley-Smith, 31, is also on trial, and denies a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, by using her force-issue extendable baton.

The trial continues.