Dalian Atkinson death – Secret order finally lifted on identity of cop charged with ex-Aston Villa star's murder

A COP charged with murder over the Taser death of ex-Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson has been unmasked after a secret order was today lifted.

Benjamin Timothy Monk, 41, is accused of killing the former Premier League ace in the first case of its kind in Britain.



He was originally unable to be named after appearing in court in Birmingham last week over "right to life" concerns.

But a judge today lifted reporting restrictions protecting his identity.

The cop, from West Mercia Police, has been charged with murder, while a female officer faces an offence of assault causing actual bodily harm.

She was also named today as 29-year-old Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith. Both officers, from Shropshire, attended Birmingham Crown Court today for the hearing.

Dalian, 48, was said to be out-of-control when he was hit with a 50,000-volt shock after officers were called to an alleged bust-up with his dad in August 2016.

The raging 6ft 2ins striker collapsed in the road in Telford and died 90 minutes later after going into cardiac arrest.

'MURDER' CHARGE

Three officers were investigated by police watchdogs and prosecutors have taken the unprecedented step of charging two of them. The third officer will not face charges.

Dalian's devastated family had campaigned for a full investigation into his death and "welcomed" the decision.

The officers appeared at Birmingham Magistrates' Court last week and were bailed to appear at the city's crown court on December 9.

The man, referred to as Officer A, was charged with murder and unlawful act manslaughter as an alternative offence. He did not indicate a plea.

Female Officer B was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm and indicated she would plead not guilty.


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.

One officer was last week charged with murder and another with assault.

Atkinson also 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.

He scored a wonder goal against Wimbledon in the 1992-93 season after picking 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.

Atkinson’s siblings described him as kind, caring, funny and cheeky. But before his death, relatives said he was “not in his right mind” and was suffering from health issues, including kidney problems and a weak heart.

COP PAIR BACKED BY UNION

His brother Paul, 55, said Atkinson had been acting irrationally as he was too “scared to sleep” due to medication he was on following dialysis treatment.

There have been recent plans to arm more officers with Tasers following the death of PC Andrew Harper, 28, as he probed a suspected burglary in August.

Last month Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed up to 60 per cent of cops in England will be able to carry Tasers in a crackdown on violent crime.

The accused pair have been backed by their union, The Police Federation.

Sarah Cooper, Chair of West Mercia Police Federation said: “We will continue to fully support these officers, their colleagues and all our members as the legal process progresses.

“We are working closely with the Force to ensure that the welfare of officers and staff is prioritised. As legal proceedings are now active, we cannot comment further at this stage.”






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