Date set for trial of West Mercia Pc charged with murder of Dalian Atkinson

The trial of a West Mercia Police officer accused of murdering former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson is set to begin on May 4.

Police Constables Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith and Benjamin Monk
Police Constables Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith and Benjamin Monk

A pre-trial hearing at Birmingham Crown Court today, was told a jury is due to be selected and empanelled on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Alexandra Healy QC, prosecuting, told the court the case was then likely to be adjourned until opening addresses by lawyers on Tuesday, May 4.

Pc Benjamin Monk, 42, was charged in 2019 with murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter after an inquiry into Mr Atkinson's death in 2016 in the Trench area of Telford.

Dalian Atkinson

Monk was not expected or required to attend the pre-trial hearing, which lasted for around 40 minutes.

The West Mercia Police constable's colleague, Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, was also excused from attending.

She has entered a not guilty plea to a charge alleging she assaulted Mr Atkinson occasioning actual bodily harm prior to his death on August 15, 2016.

Both officers were charged following a three-year inquiry into the death of Mr Atkinson, who went into cardiac arrest in an ambulance on his way to hospital.

The officers' trial was originally due to take place in September last year, but was rescheduled due to difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It was then moved to April 26, but following today's pre-trial review at Birmingham Crown Court, overseen by Judge Melbourne Inman QC, the trial will now take place next month.

Mr Atkinson, 48, who also played for clubs including Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, died after an incident near his father’s house in Telford.

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