Dalian Atkinson: PC defends using baton on ex-footballer

Dalian Atkinson: PC defends using baton on ex-footballer

A police constable has said it was absolutely necessary to hit former footballer Dalian Atkinson with her baton after he had been tasered.

PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, told a jury she did it to protect herself and her colleague.

She denies a charge of assault and said she was terrified during the incident in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.

Her colleague, PC Benjamin Monk, denies murdering Mr Atkinson and also denies an alternative manslaughter charge.

The prosecution alleges West Mercia Police probationary constable Bettley-Smith acted unlawfully after Mr Atkinson had been tasered by PC Monk outside his father’s house in Meadow Close, Trench.

Giving evidence in the sixth week of a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, PC Bettley-Smith said “I recall that he opened the front door and was there, this huge figure. He appeared very, very angry – probably the angriest person I have ever seen in my life.”

She added: “I remember his eyes bulging out of his head. His chest was puffed up … his stance made me think he was ready to fight.”

PC Bettley-Smith, a social work graduate who joined the force in February 2015, said she had pressed an emergency alarm button for urgent help, because she believed the situation to be life-threatening.

“I said in my interview that my life flashed before my eyes and that is no exaggeration – I was absolutely terrified,” she said.

After Mr Atkinson – who played for Aston Villa, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday – was tasered and fell to the ground she said she hit him three times with her baton, aiming at his thighs, to prevent him from getting back up.

She told the jury: “It was at this point when I decided I needed to strike Mr Atkinson with my baton. Unless it was absolutely necessary, I would never have used my baton that night.

“I struck him to prevent him from getting up and protect myself and Ben.

“If he was successful in getting up, I genuinely thought he would seriously hurt me.”

The court has previously heard PC Monk used a Taser on Mr Atkinson for 33 seconds after the first two attempts to use a Taser on him failed.

He also admitted he kicked Mr Atkinson but said it was not-targeted and “instinctive”. He has challenged witness accounts that he then rested his boot on the sportsman’s head.

The trial continues.

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