Dalian Atkinson appeared to stagger before Taser was fired, murder trial told

Former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson appeared to stagger and was almost running towards police shortly before he was Tasered, a murder trial has heard.

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

On the fifth day of the trial of two police officers accused of unlawfully attacking the ex-Villa striker, jurors were told a policeman ran away from him “as fast as he could” after an initial incident in Telford in August 2016.

Pc Benjamin Monk, 42, denies Mr Atkinson’s murder and manslaughter, while Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, denies a single count alleging she assaulted Atkinson near his father’s home in Meadow Close, Trench.

Dalian Atkinson File Photo
Dalian Atkinson played for Aston Villa in the early 1990s (PA Images)

In evidence from the witness box at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday, Meadow Close resident David Lewis said he had not recognised a man he saw from his bedroom window in the early hours of August 15, but later learned that it was Atkinson.

Mr Lewis told the court Atkinson’s mood appeared to be very unstable before two police officers arrived at the scene.

The witness told jurors: “He (Atkinson) started to walk towards them. When they got to the end of the driveway, they ran down the road as if they were frightened of something.

“Dalian suddenly started to almost run – he suddenly changed his pace of walking.

“He was going from a slow walk to a much faster walk, which was almost a run.”

Although he did not see a Taser being discharged, Mr Lewis said, he saw Atkinson fall down, and a female officer later raising a baton above her head and bringing it down twice.

Dalian Atkinson death
Police in Meadow Close in August 2016 (Joe Giddens/PA)

A statement made in October 2016 by Mr Lewis’s wife Janet, who has since passed away, was also read to the jury.

The statement, read to the court by prosecutor Paul Jarvis, described Atkinson as appearing to be “very agitated” as he kicked at his father’s front door.

Mrs Lewis recalled seeing the former Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town forward proceeding to “stagger about” before a Taser was pointed at him by a male officer who shouted “stand still, stand still or I will use my Taser”.

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Quoting the statement, Mr Jarvis told the court: “Dalian, however, kept on moving towards the officers. I then watched as Dalian fell to the ground behind a car.”

According to Mrs Lewis’s statement, she heard a “hissing, crackling” sound for couple of seconds during the incident.

The court heard she then saw the male officer’s left arm and shoulder moving backwards and forwards, but stop suddenly as though he had kicked something.

“It was very similar to a footballer kicking a football with substantial force,” the statement added.

Describing the alleged actions of the female officer at the scene, Mrs Lewis added: “Even with my window closed I could hear the strikes administered with her baton impacting on Dalian’s body and clothing.”

The case continues.

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