Ex-Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson was killed hours before he was due to attend clinic

Former Ipswich Town and Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson died after being tasered by police.
Dalian Atkinson Credit: PA Images

A jury trying a Pc accused of assaulting Dalian Atkinson has been told the retired footballer was looking forward to private health treatment due to start on the day he was unlawfully killed.

The second day of a re-trial of Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith was told Mr Atkinson’s mental state became disturbed – probably due to a build-up of toxins linked to renal failure – in the hours before he was tasered and kicked in the head by Pc Benjamin Monk.

Monk was convicted of manslaughter last year by a jury which was unable to reach a verdict on an assault charge faced by his 32-year-old West Mercia Police colleague Bettley-Smith.

Prosecutors allege Bettley-Smith "lashed out" several times with a baton at Mr Atkinson, causing actual bodily harm which did not contribute to the former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town’s star’s death in the early hours of Monday 15 August 2016.

Giving evidence to jurors at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Atkinson’s partner Karen Wright said she had been due to drive him to a clinic in Cheshire for an afternoon appointment on August 15.

Referring to her late partner, who she knew for 27 years, as "Dee", Ms Wright told the jury he left a friend’s house in the early hours to travel to his father’s home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire.

She told the court she spoke by telephone with Mr Atkinson after he had arrived in Meadow Close, where he was tasered three times, before being taken to hospital.

Describing her partner, who was being treated for kidney failure and heart problems, as "always a gentle, loving, lovely man," she said: "He was very conscious of his health. He was jogging again in February 2016 so he was getting fit.

"Dee had a hospital appointment on that Monday. He was elated. He was very happy about that."

Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith arriving at court on Wednesday Credit: Matthew Cooper/PA

On the evening of Sunday 14 August, Ms Wright said, Mr Atkinson mentioned "the messiah" and pulled out a dialysis line which had left him in constant pain.

She and a friend had tried to prevent Mr Atkinson leaving the house, Ms Wright said, but he took the keys to her car and drove away at around 1am despite pleas not to go.

During a call to Mr Atkinson’s mobile Ms Wright made at around 1.30am, the retired footballer said he was at his father’s house and she heard voices she did not recognise in the background.

A statement from Mr Atkinson’s brother Paul was also read to the jury on Wednesday.

The 48-year-old’s sibling said: "The last time I saw Dalian was Sunday August 14 2016 around 11pm, when I gave him a lift home from my house.

"He was in a good mood because he was finally going to receive private medical treatment."

Paul Atkinson also stated his brother later briefly visited his home some time after midnight.

"I heard a knock at the door and someone calling my name," he stated. "I heard Dalian saying: ‘You are plotting against the wrong person, I am the messiah.’ I then heard the front gate close.”

Bettley-Smith denies assault, claiming she acted lawfully in Meadow Close while trying to protect others.

The trial continues.