A police officer who kicked a former Premier League star in the head after tasering him for a total of 33 seconds has been convicted of manslaughter.
But PC Benjamin Monk was acquitted of murdering Dalian Atkinson, who played for Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town during a glittering career in the 1990s.
Atkinson, who was black, died in the early hours of 15 August 2016 after police were called to an incident at his father’s home in Telford, near Birmingham.
Prosecutor Alexandra Healy had told Birmingham Crown Court Atkinson, 48, was behaving in a “disturbed and erratic” manner as he demanded access to his father’s home and was claiming to be the “Messiah”.
BREAKING: A police officer has been convicted of the manslaughter of Dalian Atkinson.— INQUEST (@INQUEST_ORG) June 23, 2021
This is the first time a police officer has been convicted of manslaughter in England and Wales in 35 years.
Media release to follow. pic.twitter.com/rNqqcPgIMW
Giving evidence, PC Monk said he was terrified of Mr Atkinson, who made death threats and smashed a glass door.
The police officer told the jury Mr Atkinson said: "You can put 100,000 volts through me. I am the fucking Messiah. Your Taser won’t work. I’m going to take you to the gates of hell."
PC Monk then added: "He was very, very scary, very scary."
It later transpired Mr Atkinson was suffering a mental health crisis on the night he died.
This is a hugely significant verdict. The first time a police officer has been convicted of manslaughter for a death in custody in nearly 40 years.— Darshna Soni (@darshnasoni) June 23, 2021
Benjamin Monk tasered Dalian Atkinson and then kicked him in the head while he was down on the ground. pic.twitter.com/oZqBu7bw0H
She said PC Monk and another officer, Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, tried to get Atkinson under control.
PC Monk used his Taser on Atkinson for 33 seconds - six times longer than is recommended - and then kicked the former footballer twice in the head as he lay on the ground.
Ms Healy said the imprint of PC Monk’s shoelaces were found on Mr Atkinson's forehead.
The jury are still deliberating on a verdict in the case of Ms Bettley-Smith, who denies assault.