Dalian Atkinson murder trial: officer told victim to keep his head down, jurors hear

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: PA</span>
Photograph: PA

A police officer accused of murdering the former footballer Dalian Atkinson told him to “keep your head down” as he repeatedly stamped on his head while he lay on the ground after being shot with a Taser stun gun, a key witness has told the trial.

Jean Jeffrey-Shaw told the trial at Birmingham crown court, how she had to look away in horror. She said she asked her husband why the officer had been telling Atkinson to keep his head down when he appeared to her to be dead.

Jeffrey-Shaw, who lived close to Atkinson’s father in Telford, in the West Midlands, was giving evidence on the third day of the trial of PC Benjamin Monk, 42, who denies murder and manslaughter on 15 August 2016.

Monk and his colleague PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith were sent to the home of Atkinson’s father in Meadow Close, Telford, after neighbours became concerned after hearing shouting.

Bettley-Smith, 31, repeatedly struck Atkinson, 48, with a baton during the six-minute incident, which started just after 1.30am. She denies assault.

Jeffrey-Shaw, who said that she had known Atkinson since he was young but had not recognised him on the night, told how she watched from her home seeing a man who was swaying and looking down at a “red circle” on his chest – understood to have been from a stun gun directed at him.

She described the man falling into “a funny position,” with one shoulder higher than the other, and said that a male officer took up a position near to his head. “I was looking and then when he fell down one of the officers said, ‘keep your head down I am not telling you again’, and he was stamping on his head … boom, boom, boom,” she said, adding that she saw the officer lift his knee.

Questioned by Alexandra Healy QC, for the prosecution, she could not say how many times the man had been stamped on because she had to look away, but believed it was several times. “I said to my husband why is he telling him to keep his dead down? He is dead. He is not moving, Why is he telling him to keep his head down?”

She added that a female officer appeared to be panicking and began hitting the person with her baton.

The trial heard earlier that Atkinson’s father, Ernest, who has since died, had told police his son was not in his right mind on the night. The father had said his son grabbed him around the throat after “pounding” on the door of his home in the early hours.

Reading a summary of a statement given by the 85-year-old a week after the events, the junior prosecution counsel Paul Jarvis said: “Dalian told Ernest Atkinson that he loved him and asked why his father and the rest of the family were trying to kill him.” Ernest Atkinson recalled his son saying, “I’m alive, I am the messiah, and I have come to kill you”.

Jarvis said: “At that, Dalian grabbed Ernest by the throat and pushed him down into a chair. He told him not to move otherwise he would kill Paul and Kenroy, Dalian’s brothers. Dalian asked his father how much they had paid him.”

The police arrived and Ernest could see and hear his son standing with his hands out, saying, ‘you are going to Taser me, I’m the messiah, you cannot hurt me’.”

Ernest Atkinson, who assumed officers would be able to calm his son down, was later informed by police that “Dalian was fine and that he was in an ambulance on the way to hospital”.

The hearing continues.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting