Home U.K Ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson feared he would be killed by police, court hears

Ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson feared he would be killed by police, court hears


Karen Wright said the ex-Aston Villa striker, 48, was “quite convinced that he was going to be killed”. She also said he told her: “You’ll see when I am dead, I am the Messiah.” Mr Atkinson died after being Tasered and kicked in the head by PC Benjamin Monk outside his father’s home, prosecutors claim.  Monk, 42, is accused of deploying his Taser for 33 seconds – six times more than the standard five seconds. He is then alleged to have “ferociously” kicked Mr Atkinson , leaving two imprints from boot laces on his forehead. One witness claimed the officer gave him a “massive and powerful kick” as though he was “kicking a football”.

Monk’s colleague PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, who was in a relationship with him, is alleged to have hit Mr Atkinson with a baton.

The ex-footballer’s girlfriend Ms Wright broke down in tears as she gave evidence at Birmingham Crown Court.

She told jurors how Mr Atkinson’s behaviour became erratic in the days before his death in August 2016.

Ms Wright told the court: “He was quite convinced that he was going to be killed or he was going to not be with us anymore.

“I said to him, ‘Don’t be so daft, you’re not going to die.’

“He said, ‘The NHS or the police will kill me.’”

She added he had also told her: “When I am dead, you will see the world is sock-shaped.”

Ms Wright had been with Mr Atkinson before he left to go to his father’s house in Telford, Shropshire, at 1am.

Monk and Bettley-Smith were called to the scene after neighbours raised the alarm when he demanded to be let in and kicked the front door.

The court was told the two officers later may have colluded together to lie about Monk kicking Mr Atkinson in the head before his death.

Monk claimed he deployed the Taser in self-defence because he was fearful for the safety of himself and his colleague. He said Mr Atkinson had threatened: “I am going to take you to the gates of hell.”

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said Monk claimed he had only aimed one kick to the shoulder area to “control and restrain” him.

But she told jurors that other officers at the scene allegedly heard him admitting kicking him in the head.

The court was told the use of the Taser and the alleged kicks contributed to Mr Atkinson’s death, despite him having underlying health conditions.

Ms Healy said expert evidence will show the acts of Monk “significantly contributed” to the ex-footballer’s death.

Monk’s barrister, Patrick Gibbs QC, said it was now accepted the officer kicked Mr Atkinson twice in the head.

But he added: “What is in dispute is why did he do that?

“He has always said he was terrified and that Mr Atkinson was trying to get up.”

Richard Smith QC, representing Bettley-Smith, said she believes her use of the baton was “lawful”.

Monk denies murder and manslaughter. Bettley-Smith, 31, denies ABH.

The trial continues in Birmingham.


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