Dalian Atkinson death: police officer charged with murder is named | UK news


A police officer charged with murdering the former footballer Dalian Atkinson has been named as PC Benjamin Monk.

An order protecting his identity was lifted at Birmingham crown court on Wednesday by Judge Simon Drew QC after a challenge by media organisations.

The Crown Prosecution Service last week announced a murder charge against a police constable from the West Mercia force over Atkinson’s death.

Monk, 41, has been charged with murder, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment, and also faces an alternate charge of manslaughter.

A second officer, PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 29, was also named by the CPS on Wednesday as the officer charged with assault causing actual bodily harm. She had also initially been granted anonymity.

Atkinson, who played for teams including Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday, died aged 48 after a fracas outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire, in the early hours of 15 August 2016. A stun gun and other force were used on the former footballer during the incident.

The officers, who are both from Shropshire, were present at the hearing at which their lawyers agreed that anonymity could not be justified, but argued that their home addresses should not be revealed.

The judge’s decision to allow the officers to be named came after lawyers for acting for six news organisations, including the Guardian, argued that the anonymity orders were an “unjustified” and serious interference with the principle of open justice.

Suspects are usually officially named when they are charged by the CPS.

The charges against the two officers follow an investigation by the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The IOPC referred the case to the CPS in October 2018 to consider whether any criminal charges should be brought.

The IOPC had previously said of its inquiry: “The investigation gathered evidence which indicates that police contact with Mr Atkinson involved the use of a Taser, followed by a period of restraint and other uses of force.”

It is rare for an officer to face a charge of murder for their actions while performing their duties following a fatality.

The events that led to the criminal charges being brought happened while Atkinson, who lived nearby, was visiting his father in Meadow Close, Telford. A neighbour telephoned the police and officers were called to the scene at 1.30 am. Atkinson was pronounced dead 90 minutes later in hospital.

A hearing in the case has been scheduled for 9 December. Both officers are on unconditional bail.


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