PC Benjamin Monk guilty of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson's manslaughter

Former Aston Villa and Manchester City player was repeatedly kicked and tasered

West Mercia Police Constables Benjamin Monk (right) and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith (left) arrive at Birmingham Crown Court to stand trial. Monk is accused of the murder, and an alternative charge of manslaughter, of former footballer Dalian Atkinson and Bettley-Smith is charged with assaulting former footballer Dalian Atkinson. Picture date: Tuesday May 4, 2021. (Photo by Jacob King/PA Images via Getty Images)

A policeman who repeatedly tasered and kicked former footballer Dalian Atkinson has been convicted of his manslaughter.
PC Benjamin Monk, 43, was called to an incident at the home of Atkinson's father in Telford, Shropshire, where the officer said he was in fear for his life from someone he thought was having a mental health crisis.
Atkinson, once a top level footballer who played for Manchester City and Aston Villa, was suffering serious health problems that included end-stage renal failure.

Taser records and boot prints on Atkinson's face showed what he had endured during the incident on August 15, 2016.
According to the charity Inquest, until Wednesday's verdict no police officer has been found guilty of murder or manslaughter over a death in custody or following police contact in England and Wales since the 1980s.
Taser records showed Monk activated the weapon eight times for a total of more than 80 seconds using three taser cartridges, culminating in a 33-second burst, more than six times longer than is standard.

The officer claimed that the former Premier League star was trying to get up when, after running out of Taser cartridges and as a last resort, he aimed kicks at his shoulder.

Atkinson, who was 48 years old, went into cardiac arrest after being taken from the scene in an ambulance, and was pronounced dead in hospital at 2.45am – about an hour after the Taser blasts.

1993:  Portrait of Dalian Atkinson of Aston Villa. \ Mandatory Credit: Anton  Want/Allsport

Prosecutors said Monk lied about the number of kicks he had delivered, and that they had struck the victim's head.

The officer claimed to have no recollection of placing his foot on Atkinson's head as colleagues arrived at the scene.

Monk conceded he must have kicked the former footballer twice in the forehead because bootlace prints proved that he had, but the officer maintained that his actions were lawful self-defence.
Jurors were told they could convict Monk of murder only if they were sure he intended to cause really serious injury.

The jury was instructed to find Monk guilty of an alternative charge of manslaughter if they were not sure he intended to cause serious harm but the force used was an act any reasonable person would realise was bound to pose a risk of physical harm.
Monk has yet to be sentenced.