A POLICE officer couple colluded together to lie about ex-Premier League ace Dalian Atkinson being kicked in the head to cover their tracks following his murder, a court heard today.
The ex-Villa and Manchester City striker, 48, was “kicked like a football” by a cop yelling “f***ing hit him” before he was killed, the court was told.
He was allegedly Tasered for 33 seconds – six times longer than the standand five-second phase – before he died in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.
Benjamin Monk, 42, is accused of killing the former Premier League ace using a 50,000-volt Taser in the first case of its kind in Britain.
The cop, from West Mercia Police, denies murder and manslaughter. A female officer, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, faces an offence of assault.
Birmingham Crown Court has heard the officers – who were in a relationship at the time – were called to Atkinson’s father’s home following an alleged bust-up.
Monk claimed in police interview he deployed the Taser three times in self-defence because he was fearful for the safety of himself and his police officer girlfriend.
‘GATES OF HELL’
He said Atkinson had threatened “I am going to take you to the gates of hell” and both the officers had been “terrified” at the time.
Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC told how Monk said he had only aimed one kick to the shoulder area to “control and restrain” him after he was Tasered to the ground.
She told the jury: “The fact that PC Monk claimed in his first interview to have kicked Dalian Atkinson only once to the left shoulder area, when the evidence of what other officers heard him say at the scene shows that he knew full well that he had kicked him in the head, demonstrates that he himself is only too aware that those kicks could not be justified.
“That PC Bettley-Smith appears to have colluded in not telling the truth about the kicks to the head, is indicative of the two officers having discussed between themselves how best to account for their unlawful attack on the unarmed Dalian Atkinson.
“In deciding to kick Dalian Atkinson two times to the head the prosecution say Benjamin Monk must have intended to cause him really serious injury.
“In considering whether his acts significantly contributed to Dalian Atkinson’s death that night the prosecution say that when all of the expert evidence is considered on this issue you can be sure that they did.”
That PC Bettley-Smith appears to have colluded in not telling the truth about the kicks to the head, is indicative of the two officers having discussed between themselves how best to account for their unlawful attack on the unarmed Dalian Atkinson.”
Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC
The court heard both defendants were interviewed by police under caution on August 26, 2016, and again in January 2017.
Monk described a “very loud row” taking place within the property when Atkinson appeared at the doorway “in an obvious rage” exclaiming “This is the Messiah.”
Ms Healy added: “PC Monk produced the Taser, but Dalian Atkinson, who PC Monk did not know, was apparently unconcerned, saying “I am going to take you to the gates of hell”.
“PC Monk was, he said, fearful for himself and his partner.”
She continued: “Monk loaded the third and final cartridge into his Taser and Mr Atkinson then walked towards him, talking again of taking him to the 'gates of hell'.
“Pc Monk then discharged the Taser once more and, on this occasion, it was 'completely effective'.
Pc Monk produced the Taser, but Dalian Atkinson, who he Pc Monk did not know, was apparently unconcerned, saying ;I am going to take you to the gates of hell’.”
Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC
“He said Mr Atkinson went 'rigid' with neuro muscular incapacitation and fell forward. Had it not worked, he said, 'we were completely done for'.”
Yesterday, the court heard that horrified witnesses told how the footballer was booted around “15 times” as he had the “s**t kicked out of him”.
Others claimed they saw Monk resting his foot on Atkinson’s head as he made “gurgling sounds”, it was said.
Ms Healy QC read a report from Victor Swinbourne, who had been woken by the noise.
She told he Mr Swinbourne described seeing Atkinson collapse after being Tasered before Monk gave him a “couple of light kicks”.
The prosecutor continued: “He then saw the officer pull his right foot all the way back and give the black male a final massive and powerful kick using the toe of his right foot as the male lay motionless on the floor.
‘KICKED LIKE A FOOTBALL’
“The officer’s leg went straight back and snapped forwards as though he was kicking a football.
“He described the motion as similar to the sort of kick that would have been required to move a ball up field with significant force.”
The court was told Monk’s girlfriend then began “striking” Atkinson with an extendable baton as he made “no movement or any attempt to protect himself”.
The prosecutor continued: “Mr Swinbourne described the two officers then sitting on the black male in order to handcuff him. He describes hearing the black male make some horrendous noises.”
Monk was then heard telling Bettley-Smith “f***ing hit him, f***ing hit him” while Atkinson lay motionless on the ground, it was said.
Monk is only the fourth officer to be charged with murdering someone while on duty in more than 20 years.
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Atkinson also played for Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City, Ipswich Town, Fenerbahce and Real Sociedad during a career spanning 16 years.
He scored in Villa's 3-1 1994 League Cup final victory over Manchester United and went on to net 36 times for the club in 114 appearances.
The trial, which is due to last eight weeks, continues.
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