A policeman has been convicted of the manslaughter of former professional footballer Dalian Atkinson after firing an electric stun gun into him for 33 seconds and kicking him twice in the head while he was on the ground.
PC Benjamin Monk, 43, was convicted by a jury at Birmingham crown court. Monk is the first police officer to be convicted of manslaughter since the 1980s.
Atkinson, 48, from Telford, Shropshire, was kicked so hard in the head that there was blood on the laces of Monk’s police-issue boots.
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The details of the violence Monk used were only made public at trial almost five years after Atkinson’s death.
The incident took place on 15 August 2016 outside Atkinson’s father’s house. Shortly after 1.30am BST, a neighbour called the police because Atkinson was causing a disturbance.
The former Ipswich, Sheffield Wednesday, Real Sociedad, and Aston Villa footballer was pronounced dead 70 minutes after a stand-off with two West Mercia police officers.
Monk, who served on the police force for 14 years, denied any wrongdoing and told the court his actions were to defend himself and his colleague and former girlfriend, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31.
He said 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.
Dalian Atkinson died following the incident in 2016
Image credit: Getty Images
Following a six-week trial and 18 hours and 48 minutes of deliberation by the jury to reach unanimous verdicts on Monk, he was acquitted of murder before being convicted of manslaughter.
The Atkinson family said after the verdict: “We are hugely relieved that the whole country now knows the truth about how Dalian died.
“While it has been hard for us not to be able to talk about the details of Dalian’s death, it has been even harder to sit through this trial and to hear PC Monk try to justify the force he used.
“On the night he died, Dalian was vulnerable and unwell and needed medical attention. He instead received violence, and died with PC Monk’s boot lace prints bruised on to his forehead.
“We have been sickened to hear PC Monk try to minimise the force he used on Dalian and exaggerate the threat he posed. Fortunately, the jury has seen through the lies and the pretence. We would like to thank the jury members for all their hard work and attention.”
Jurors are still deliberating an assault charge relating to Bettley-Smith.
Atkinson also played professionally for football clubs in South Korea, Spain and Turkey. He retired from football in 2001.
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