13:01 GMT28 July 2021
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    Dalian Atkinson played 200 games in the English Premier League and won the League Cup with Aston Villa. But after spells in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and South Korea the striker retired from football in 2001.

    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.

    Britain Football Soccer - Aston Villa v Manchester United - Coca Cola Cup Final - 27/3/94 Aston Villa's Dalian Atkinson and Dean Saunders celebrate with the trophy
    © REUTERS / Action Images
    Britain Football Soccer - Aston Villa v Manchester United - Coca Cola Cup Final - 27/3/94 Aston Villa's Dalian Atkinson and Dean Saunders celebrate with the trophy.

    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”.

    ​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.

    ​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.

    Tags:
    manslaughter, police officer, English Premier League, Dalian Atkinson
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