A COP has today been found guilty of killing ex-Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson after Tasering him for 33 seconds and kicking him twice.
The Premier League footballer, 48, died after being shot with a 50,000-volt Taser in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.
Benjamin Monk, 42, has today been convicted of manslaughter but cleared of murder in the first case of its kind in the UK.
Jurors are still deliberating on charges against Monk's cop girlfriend Mary-Ellen Bettley-Smith, who allegedly hit Dalian with her baton as he lay on the ground.
Dalian was hit with a 50,000-volt shock after officers were called to an alleged bust-up with his dad in August 2016.
He was Tasered for 33 seconds – six times longer than the standard five-second length of time.
The 6ft 2ins striker collapsed in the road in Telford and died 90 minutes later after going into cardiac arrest.
Jurors heard how Dalian was "disturbed and erratic" leading up to his death and told Monk he was "going to take you to the gates of Hell".
The experienced officer fired two cartridges at the footballer, which had no effect, after he claimed he was the "Messiah".
He then held his finger on the trigger for 33 seconds on the third attempt.
ONE OF FIRST STARS OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE
DALIAN Atkinson was one of the first big stars of the Premier League.
In its inaugural 1992/93 season, his goals steered Aston Villa to the runners-up spot.
He even won goal of the season with an incredible solo effort against Wimbledon.
In 1994 he won the Coca-Cola League Cup Final with Villa beating Manchester United 3-1 and was pictured holding the trophy with manager Ron Atkinson.
He later played for Manchester City and for clubs in Turkey, France, Saudi Arabia and South Korea before retiring in 2001.
The former Villa striker died after being tasered in August 2016. The case was immediately referred to the police watchdog.
In November that year stars from the world of football attended his funeral in Telford.
In August 2017 the police watchdog revealed three West Mercia officers had been interviewed under criminal caution.
A file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in October last year.
Dalian collapsed on the ground where Monk then kicked him several times "like a football", horrified witnesses said.
One bystander told jurors how the footballer was booted around "15 times" as he had the "s**t kicked out of him".
Others claimed they saw Monk resting his foot on Atkinson's head as he made "gurgling sounds".
The striker was kicked with such force his blood was found in the laces of Monk's boots.
Alexandra Healy QC, prosecuting, read a report from Victor Swinbourne, who had been woken by the noise.
'LIKE KICKING A FOOTBALL'
She told he Mr Swinbourne described seeing Atkinson collapse after being Tasered before Monk gave him a "couple of light kicks".
The prosecutor continued: "He then saw the officer pull his right foot all the way back and give the black male a final massive and powerful kick using the toe of his right foot as the male lay motionless on the floor.
"The officer's leg went straight back and snapped forwards as though he was kicking a football.
"He described the motion as similar to the sort of kick that would have been required to move a ball up field with significant force.
"It was not, he thought, as strong a kick as a goal kick, as the officer did not appear to take a run up to it.
"He believed the kick was initially to the black male's chest but given the strength of the impact it looked as though the kick bounced off the chest and hit him in the chin, because he saw the black male's head snap back violently."
'HE MAY BE BLOODY'
The officer was later heard telling paramedics "he may be bloody as I had to kick him" as the footballer was rushed to hospital.
Dalian, who had a number of health issues, went into cardiac arrest and was declared dead shortly after.
Monk later claimed he feared for his life and accepted he "instinctively" kicked the star in the shoulder during the arrest.
Villa star Dalian played for Sheffield Wednesday, Manchester City, Ipswich Town, Fenerbahce and Real Sociedad during a career spanning 16 years.
He scored in Villa’s 3-1 1994 League Cup final victory over Manchester United and went on to net 36 times for the club in 114 appearances.
The ace also netted a wonder goal against Wimbledon in the 1992-93 season.
He picked the ball up well inside his own half before gliding past a stream of Dons defenders and chipping goalkeeper Hans Segers from 25 yards.
The goal – and the celebration with a member of the crowd holding an umbrella – became the stuff of Villa legend.
In a statement released after his death, his family said he was "a kind, caring and protective brother, with a lively personality".
They added: "He always brought life and energy to family gatherings – when Dalian turned up, we knew there would be laughter and banter."
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