Sport: PC accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson 'rested foot on head'

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Dalian Atkinson wearing sunglasses posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

A policeman accused of murdering former Premier League star Dalian Atkinson had his foot 'gently resting' on the former footballer's head after he was tasered, one of the officer's colleagues has told a jury.

PC Benjamin Monk, 42, allegedly used unlawful force by kicking the ex-Aston Villa striker in the head with 'substantial force', while PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, allegedly assaulted him with a baton.

Atkinson, 48, was tasered three times and had two bootlace prints on his forehead after the incident in Telford, Shropshire on August 15, 2016. He subsequently died of cardio-respiratory arrest in hospital.

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Giving evidence from the witness box in the second week of the hearing, PC Samuel Wright told Birmingham Crown Court he arrived at the scene in a van with another West Mercia Police constable.

The constable, who assisted in handcuffing Atkinson, told jurors that Monk was standing by Atkinson's body, with one of his feet 'gently resting' on his head while the cables of his Taser ran towards the retired footballer.

Saying Atkinson was initially still struggling before later becoming quiet, PC Wright told the court: 'I remember his left hand being above his head and his right hand being by his right hand side.

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'PC Monk was stood towards his head with a Taser in his hand and with one of his feet gently resting on Mr Atkinson's head,' PC Wright told the court.

'PC Monk was shouting instructions towards Mr Atkinson. 'Stay still, put your arms behind your back' - stuff like that.'

PC Wright told the court he recalled the ex-footballer making a 'growling' noise.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel, PC Wright said Atkinson, who also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town, was struggling while on the ground.

Richard Smith QC, defending Bettley-Smith, asked PC Wright: 'This was a man who you perceived still posed a threat and required the application of handcuffs?'

a man wearing a suit and tie: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

PC Wright answered: 'Yes.' The officer added that his perception had changed after the 'growling' sound stopped.

Jurors also heard the evidence of PC Wright's crewmate, PC Julia Hiller.

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She told the trial, which is expected to last for up to eight weeks: 'The Taser, from what I can remember, was still attached to the person on the floor.

'From my recollection, he was face down on the floor, maybe slightly on his right side. I remember at some point at the scene there being some kind of gurgling noise.

'He was semi-conscious. He was just moving, making small movements as he was on the floor.'

PC Hiller added that she was not involved in subsequent checks on Atkinson's wellbeing, but had been aware of an ambulance arriving at the scene.

a person riding on the back of a truck: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

At the start of the trial, the QC acting for Monk said the officer does not dispute kicking Atkinson twice in the head - but did so while he was 'terrified'.

Police Sergeant Gemma Bridgwood, who was a constable at the time of the incident, was also called as a witness today.

She said handcuffs were not removed from Atkinson after a discussion among officers, who had found he still had a pulse.

Describing her impression of a radio transmission sent by Bettley-Smith, Sgt Bridgwood said: 'I formed the assumption that something wasn't right. In my opinion she sounded frightened.'

Recalling what she had seen and heard after arriving at the scene, Sgt Bridgwood added: 'PC Monk was stood with his foot, I'm not certain whether it was on Mr Atkinson's head or his shoulder... but his foot was resting on part of Mr Atkinson's body in that area.'

The female officer, who did not hear Mr Atkinson speak, said Monk's foot had been placed 'as though to stop the male standing up'.

Monk and Bettley-Smith deny murder and manslaughter, and assault respectively.

The trial continues.

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