Former Aston Villa footballer died after being tasered by police and kicked twice in head, jury hears

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman was in court as evidence about Mr Atkinson's death was given

Ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson died after he was tasered by police for 33 seconds, more than six times the normal duration, a jury has heard.

Jurors at Birmingham Crown Court also heard how the football star was also kicked twice in the head before he died.

It's as the trial of two police officers from the West Mercia Police force began this morning, following a three-year inquiry into the 48-year-old's death.

Atkinson died in August 2016 in Shropshire after officers were called to reports of a disturbance on Meadow Close in Telford.

  • 42-year-old PC Benjamin Monk arrives in court having been charged with murder, alongside PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, who has been charged with assault.

Opening the trial today, prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC noted how Atkinson had serious health problems, including end stage renal failure.

Atkinson had been behaving in a "disturbed and erratic" way, and repeatedly referred to him as "the Messiah"

The court was also told how the former striker 'moved towards the officers' and was 'tasered for 33 seconds, more than six times the standard five-second phase'.

The prosecution said the third deployment of a taser by PC Benjamin Monk was 'completely effective' and caused Atkinson 'neuro-muscular incapacitation' before he fell forwards onto a road.

Jurors were then told the 42-year-old officer, who denies charges of murder and manslaughter, proceeded to kick Atkinson in the head.

Ms Healy said: "At least two kicks were delivered by him to Dalian Atkinson's forehead with enough force to leave the imprints of the pattern of the laces from the top of his boot on two separate areas of the forehead."

She added that in kicking the former footballer twice, PC Monk was 'not, acting in self-defence or in defence of another'.

A tribute is paid on the big screen at Villa Park in memory of former player Dalian Atkinson who died in 2016. Credit: PA images

Monk's colleague, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, was also on trial today, having been charged with assault.

The prosecution said Bettley-Smith had struck the former footballer a number of times while he was lying on the ground with her baton.

She denies the charge.

Dalian Atkinson celebrates as he puts Aston Villa one goal in front against Manchester Utd in 1994. Credit: PA images

A number of residents living nearby had witnessed the incident and claimed once Atkinson had fallen to the ground he was 'no longer posing any threat to the officers'.

The court heard an ambulance was called but Atkinson, who had lost consciousness, was unresponsive.

He went into cardiac arrest en route to hospital and was pronounced dead later that day.

Ms Healy said that although Atkinson's underlying health conditions meant he was at an increased risk of dying, if it were not for the third taser deployment and the kicks to his head, Atkinson wouldn't have died.

She added the two defendants claim they were entitled to use force on Atkinson while he was lying on the ground because he was attempting to get up and they feared for their safety.

The trial continues.