Dalian Atkinson: PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith cleared of assaulting former footballer Dalian Atkinson before he died
PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith was cleared of assaulting retired Aston Villa footballer Dalian Atkinson prior to his death in Telford, Shropshire, in 2016 at Birmingham Crown Court.
Jurors deliberated for three hours and two minutes before acquitting Ms. Bettley-Smith, who used a baton three times on Mr. Atkinson after he was tasered to the ground by PC Benjamin Monk, who was sentenced for manslaughter last year.
Bettley-Smith testified at her trial that she was “shaking from head to toe” and was certain she would have been seriously injured if Mr. Atkinson had managed to get to his feet.
The 32-year-old told the jury she used her baton lawfully as a last resort to control Mr. Atkinson, who she said was “actively resisting and attempting to get up” at the scene in Meadow Close, Trench.
Following the verdict, trial judge John Butterfield KC told the jury, “You leave the court with my heartfelt gratitude.”
Monk, 43, was sentenced to eight years in prison in July 2021 after forensic evidence revealed he had kicked Mr. Atkinson in the head at least twice after tasering him to the ground.
The retired footballer, 48, who was capped by England B and also played for Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town, was told at the retrial that he was looking forward to private health treatment, which was set to begin on the day he was unlawfully killed.