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A cop beat a former Premier League footballer with a baton as her police officer boyfriend tasered and kicked him to death, a court heard today.
PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 32, is accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the death of retired Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Manchester City striker Dalian Atkinson, 48, in August 2016.
His death came after he was tasered outside his dad's home in Telford for 33 seconds by PC Benjamin Monk, who then kicked him twice in the head, a court heard.
Monk was jailed for eight years for manslaughter in June last year.
Today (September 13) Monk's former girlfriend Bettley-Smith appeared at Birmingham Crown Court.
The court heard she acted unlawfully in striking Atkinson with the baton while he lay on the ground after being tasered – a charge she denies.
Bettley-Smith, of West Mercia Police, claims she used reasonable force and acted in self-defence because she thought her life was in danger.
Prosecutor Paul Jarvis make it clear it has never been the prosecution's case that Bettley-Smith was responsible for Atkinson's death.
He said: "But it has always been the prosecution's case that she unlawfully struck Dalian Atkinson more than once with her baton to the back of his body as he lay on the ground, thereby causing bruising that amounted to actual bodily harm.
"Ellie Bettley-Smith does not deny striking Dalian Atkinson but she maintains that she did so either in self-defence, or in defence of Benjamin Monk or others, or in order to arrest Dalian Atkinson or to prevent him from committing further offences."
Officers were called at around 1.30am on August 15, 2016 after Atkinson tried to break into his dad's house, the court heard.
Monk deployed his stun gun three times after Atkinson confronted the pair while ranting: "I'm the f**king Messiah."
The court was told that the ex-footballer dropped to the ground unharmed, whereby Monk kicked him and Bettley-Smith hit him with a baton.
Atkinson was rushed to hospital but died at 2.54am after a cardiac arrest. He had suffered from kidney failure, high blood pressure and heart disease.
Mr Jarvis said Atkinson's behaviour was "bizarre and troubling". He continued: "It is entirely understandable that at this moment in time Benjamin Monk and Ellie Bettley-Smith would have been afraid.
"They were entitled, we accept, to take steps to subdue him. Dalian fell into the middle of the road as a result of experiencing neuro-muscular incapacitation.
"A number of witnesses then saw Benjamin Monk kick Dalian Atkinson to the head.
"The witnesses also saw Ellie Bettley-Smith take out her baton, extend it, and strike Dalian with it several times to his body.
"Benjamin Monk was heard shouting to Ellie Bettley-Smith 'f**king hit him, f**king hit him', which she did."
He added that Bettley-Smith "became visibly upset" when she learned of Atkinson's death, and that she told police she had hit him "with as much force as she could muster".
"The prosecution accept that this must have been a frightening experience for a probationary officer," Mr Jarvis continued.
"But once Mr Atkinson was no longer a threat to the officers, the justification for the use of force against him evaporated.
"It is likely that Ellie Bettley-Smith lashed out, perhaps in anger at the fact Mr Atkinson had scared her so much.
"Or perhaps because Benjamin Monk told her to because he was himself angry, but either way when she hit him she was not trying to defend either herself or Benjamin Monk or trying to arrest Mr Atkinson.
"That is why we say those blows were unlawful."
The trial will resume Wednesday (August 14).
- Premier League
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