Dalian Atkinson killing: Police 'never trained' to restrain head with foot, officer's trial hears

·3-min read

The trial of an officer accused of murdering Dalian Atkinson has heard from a retired police trainer who said he "would never train" colleagues to use a foot to restrain a person's head on the ground.

Jurors previously were told PC Benjamin Monk was seen by colleagues resting his boot on ex-footballer Mr Atkinson's head as he lay on the floor after being tasered.

Monk, who denies murder and manslaughter, used unlawful and unreasonable force during a 33-second firing of his Taser, and had kicked the former Aston Villa star, 48, twice in the head, according to prosecutors.

Mr Atkinson, who was then handcuffed near his father's home in Telford, Shropshire, early on 15 August 2016, later died in hospital.

On the accusation Monk, 43, had rested his foot on Mr Atkinson's head, ex-police trainer Ian Mills was asked by Monk's barrister Patrick Gibbs QC: "Have you ever seen that trained to an officer as something they should do?"

He replied: "Pinning the head, yes - but not with the foot."

Mr Mills, giving evidence for the defence, said an officer might instead use their "hands" or "shin", "in order to prevent injury and restrain someone - if someone is self-harming, banging their head on the floor, during extractions, it's common to restrain the head to the floor."

Mr Gibbs then asked: "And (restraint of the head) with the foot?"

Mr Mills, who had 28 years in policing, replied: "I've never trained it, I would never train it and I've never seen it."

Mr Mills was also asked if he had ever trained officers "to kick people in the head"?

He replied at Birmingham Crown Court: "No. The reasons are two-fold, really.

"If they're both standing then it would take a great deal of practise, training and martial arts ability, to kick a standing subject while you are standing.

"If the subject is on floor, just about anybody could deliver a kick to any part of the subject - but it wouldn't be easy to train or safe to train to kick a role-player to the head in the training environment.

"You can't train it. It serves no purpose (to train it). Most people can deliver kicks low down - they just can't, high up."

Monk, who previously described his kicks as not-targeted and "instinctive", told a jury he was "terrified" that he and his colleague "were going to die" during the encounter.

He has claimed an "unpredictable and erratic" Mr Atkinson said he was "the Messiah" and was threatening to take the officers "to the gates of hell".

Monk's kicks were delivered with enough force that the marks from the officer's right boot were left imprinted in the former sportsman's forehead, jurors have been told.

Previously giving evidence in his defence, Monk has also claimed he could not remember having his boot on Mr Atkinson's head.

That was despite being seen with his foot "resting" on the 48-year-old, by two other police officers arriving at the scene, the court heard.

The trial continues.

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