Jury selection under way as police officer denies ex-footballer’s murder

Matthew Cooper, PA
·1-min read

A police officer has entered formal not guilty pleas over the alleged murder and manslaughter of former Aston Villa star Dalian Atkinson.

The trial of Pc Benjamin Monk, of West Mercia Police, is expected to open next week at Birmingham Crown Court.

Monk, aged 42, spoke to deny both charges against him when he was arraigned by the court clerk at a hearing on Monday, ahead of jury selection in his case.

Aston Villa – Dalian Atkinson
Dalian Atkinson, who played for Aston Villa between 1991 and 1995 (PA Archive/PA Images)

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC told the same court last week that opening addresses to the jury are due to take place on Tuesday May 4.

Monk was charged in 2019 with murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter after an inquiry into Mr Atkinson’s death in 2016 in Telford, Shropshire.

The constable’s colleague, Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 31, is also set to face trial accused of assault.

She has already entered a not guilty plea to a charge alleging she assaulted Mr Atkinson occasioning actual bodily harm prior to his death on August 15 2016.

The 48-year-old former footballer played for several others clubs, including Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town.