Jury selected to try police officer accused of assaulting ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson

Dalian Atkinson was a striker for Aston Villa Credit: PA Media

A jury has been selected in the trial of a police officer accused of assaulting ex-Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town footballer Dalian Atkinson.

Charges were brought against 32-year-old West Mercia Police Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith after Mr Atkinson died in August 2016.

Prosecutors allege Bettley-Smith used unreasonable force in striking Mr Atkinson with a baton after he had been tasered by another officer near his childhood home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire.

West Mercia Police constable Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith is to stand trial Credit: Jacob King/PA

Mr Atkinson, 48, went into cardiorespiratory arrest and died about an hour later after being taken to hospital by ambulance.

At the time, West Mercia Police said officers were called amid concerns "for the safety of an individual".

A jury of seven men and five woman was selected to hear the case, but not sworn, at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.

The Crown is expected to open its case against Bettley-Smith, who denies a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, on Tuesday.