Sophomore Dalian Atkinson went down “like a ton of bricks” when he was tasered moments before he was kicked by a police officer, an eyewitness has told a murder trial jury.
Speaking at the trial of police officers Benjamin Monk and Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, Julia Shilton said the ex-Aston Villa star appeared confused and adopted an intimidating stance before he was tasered to the ground near his father’s home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire.
While Monk, 42, denies murder and manslaughter, Bettley-Smith, 31, denies assaulting the retired footballer with a police baton in the early hours of August 15, 2016.
Speaking at Birmingham Crown Court, Ms Shilton, who witnessed the alleged killing from the window of her home, said she heard what sounded like an argument and then a police officer shouting at a man to get down on the ground.
The female witness said of Mr. Atkinson, “At that point he was moving up and down the driveway, not really at speed. He was almost strolling, like he didn’t know what he was doing.
“As he was going up and down, it was like he didn’t know what he was doing. It was a confused way of walking.
“He looked excited, that’s the feeling I got.”
But the female officer at the scene kept looking toward the end of the street, as if waiting for backup, while the male officer seemed hesitant to confront Atkinson, Ms. Shilton told the jury.
Having heard the 48-year-old former Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town player banging on his father’s door, the witness said there was the sound of breaking glass.
She added: “The male police officer told him a couple of times to get down on the floor.
“Mr. Atkinson did not do that and he turned to the officer and made his demeanor a little more threatening.
“At that point, the officer pulled something in his hand and I hoped it wasn’t a weapon.
“I just thought it was a Taser and I heard a crackling sound…. But Mr. Atkinson was still standing there.
“I was almost sure I heard that crackling sound, but when nothing happened, I thought I didn’t hear right.
“Then I heard a crackling sound and the officer had obviously brought the Taser back up and was firing again.
“At that point, Mr. Atkinson fell to the ground. In layman’s terms, like a ton of bricks. He just went down.”
Mrs. Shilton said that because of a parked 4×4, she could only see the bottom half of Mr. Atkinson after he fell to the street.
“There was no movement (from him),” she told the court. “The male officer approached Mr. Atkinson and just looked at him, and then he just started kicking him.”
Under cross-examination by Patrick Gibbs QC, Ms Shilton said there were “maybe five or six” kicks, but added: “I really don’t know, I didn’t count the kicks. I couldn’t believe what I had seen to be honest.”
Earlier, another eyewitness told the court he saw two kicks.
Victor Swinbourne, who also watched the action from the window of his home, said, “I saw a middle-aged gentleman looking in my direction with a red dot on his chest, and I saw a male police officer with a Taser in his hand.
“I think I heard him (Atkinson) say, ‘10,000 volts is not for me’.”
Mr Swinbourne also recalled hearing a noise as if someone was breaking a window before two police officers stepped back from Mr Atkinson and told him to put his hands up and stand still.
The witness continued, “He said, ‘I am the Messiah. You will remember this day.'”
Mr. Atkinson did not put his hands out to break his fall when he was tased for the second time, according to Mr. Swinbourne.
He added: “As soon as he went down, they both went in. I think the male could easily have been first.
“I saw the male (officer) kick him a couple of times. He raised his leg up and when he kicked him, he kicked him in his torso area.
“I remember him kicking him in the chest, and I remember it kind of coming from his chest? And moving his head back.”
“It was a long time ago, but I would say the first kick was probably with a little more force than the second.”
The process continues.