PC 'frightened, not angry' during Dalian Atkinson stand-off

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionDalian Atkinson played for Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday during his career

A police officer accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson was frightened rather than angry during a six-minute confrontation, his defence counsel told a jury.

Patrick Gibbs QC said the evidence suggested PC Benjamin Monk kicked him in the head as a "last resort".

Earlier, the prosecution said he had exaggerated the ex-footballer's behaviour to justify his own actions.

PC Monk denies murdering Mr Atkinson, 48, in Telford on 15 August 2016.

The 43-year-old also denies an alternative charge of manslaughter.

In his closing remarks Mr Gibbs said PC Monk "knew he was facing an aggressive, irrational, apparently powerful person who seemed not to be responsive to reason."

He said after the first Taser firing had no effect on Mr Atkinson, the former Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday striker smashed a glass door panel at his father's house, leaving PC Monk with "every reason to fear the worst".

'Heat of them moment'

"From what we now know, this incident could have ended very differently if Mr Atkinson had got back into the house," he added.

Mr Gibbs told the jury it was very easy to dissect the six minutes in the sanitised environment of a courtroom, but "quite different to have those six minutes happen to you in real time not knowing what is going to happen next."

image copyrightPA Media
image captionPC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith and PC Benjamin Monk were in a relationship at the time of Mr Atkinson's death

He claimed the forensic evidence showed Mr Atkinson was not lying motionless before being kicked and told jurors: "While it is still horrible to imagine those kicks, you have a better understanding of how in panic, if that is what it was, they might have been delivered as a last resort in the heat of the moment."

Earlier, in her closing speech, prosecution barrister Alexandra Healy QC described parts of the accounts of West Mercia Police officers PC Monk and 31-year-old PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, as a "story that goes against the evidence."

PC Ellen Bettley-Smith denies assaulting Mr Atkinson with a baton.

The Crown alleges PC Monk murdered Mr Atkinson by excessive use of a Taser and kicking him in the head at least twice.

image copyrightCrown Prosecution Service
image captionDalian Atkinson died on 15 August 2016 aged 48

Birmingham Crown Court heard PC Bettley-Smith estimated Mr Atkinson's height, which was 5ft 11, as "6ft 4ins or taller" while PC Monk told a police interview the ex-sportsman was "massive" despite being an inch bigger than him.

Ms Healy said the description of his size was a "deliberate exaggeration".

She told jurors: "It's clear Mr Atkinson was suffering some sort of acute mental health crisis and as a consequence was behaving quite out of character.

"Mr Atkinson was not armed, he never touched PC Monk and never laid a finger on PC Bettley-Smith."

She added: "The Crown say these two officers have sought to take advantage of their training and knowledge as police officers to paint an exaggerated picture of Mr Atkinson's behaviour in an effort to quite falsely persuade you that the force that they used was lawful."

The trial continues.

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