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Police officer guilty of manslaughter of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson

PC Benjamin Monk of West Mercia force was convicted of the 2016 killing by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court.

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

The six-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard that PC Monk killed Mr Atkinson, after firing an electric stun gun into him for 33 seconds and kicking him twice in the head as he lay on the ground, leaving boot prints on the victim’s forehead. Atkinson was kicked with such force his blood was found in the laces of Monk’s police issue boots.

Monk, 43, was accused of lying in court about his account, and of kicking and stamping on Atkinson’s head while he was barely conscious on the ground.

Monk is the first officer convicted of manslaughter during the course of his duties since 1986 and has been told he will face an “inevitable” prison sentence, although he was cleared of an alternative charge of murder.

The following day, the jury failed to reach a decision about a second officer involved in the killing, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who was accused of beating Mr Atkinson with a baton after her colleague, PC Monk, discharged his stun gun.

Bettley-Smith, who was a probationary officer at the time, told her trial she used necessary force to defend herself and others, but prosecutors claimed she had exaggerated the threat posed by the footballer to “help” Monk’s attempt to justify excessive force.

Jurors deliberated for more than 21 hours at Birmingham Crown Court before telling the trial judge they would be unable, even if given further time, to reach a verdict on the charge alleging Bettley-Smith used unlawful force.

One would think that surely using any force at all on a man who has already been felled by a stun gun is excessive and unnecessary, and would have likely contributed to his eventual death.

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