A constabulary constable has been cleared of assaulting erstwhile Aston Villa striker Dalian Atkinson, aft telling jurors she struck him with a baton arsenic a past resort.
Pc Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith was acquitted aft jurors rejected prosecution claims that she “lashed out” successful choler astatine Atkinson earlier his decease successful Telford, Shropshire, successful the aboriginal hours of August 15, 2016.
Bettley-Smith, 32, was recovered not blameworthy astatine Birmingham Crown Court connected Wednesday aft the assemblage had deliberated for 3 hours and 2 minutes pursuing a re-trial.
Jurors were incapable to scope a verdict connected the battle complaint astatine the officer’s archetypal proceedings past year, but convicted Pc Benjamin Monk of manslaughter.
Monk, 43, was jailed for 8 years successful July 2021 aft forensic grounds proved helium had kicked Atkinson astatine slightest doubly successful the head, aft tasering him to the ground.
The re-trial was told the retired footballer, 48, who was capped by the England B squad and besides played for Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich, was looking guardant to backstage wellness attraction owed to commencement connected the time helium was unlawfully killed.
He mislaid consciousness soon aft being tasered adjacent his puerility location successful Meadow Close, Trench, and died successful infirmary astir an hr later.
Bettley-Smith and Monk, who were successful a narration astatine the time, had been sent to the country to restrain Atkinson aft his intelligence authorities became disturbed, astir apt owed to a build-up of toxins linked to renal failure.
Prosecutors alleged Bettley-Smith mislaid her chill and “pummelled” a “defenceless” Atkinson with a baton, causing existent bodily harm which they accepted did not lend to his death.
In her grounds to the court, Bettley-Smith said she had utilized the baton due to the fact that she perceived the ex-footballer inactive posed a menace of “serious harm” aft helium was tasered for a 3rd time.
Bettley-Smith told her proceedings she was near “shaking from caput to toe” and was definite she would person travel to harm if Atkinson had managed to get to his feet.
She told the assemblage she believed she had utilized her baton lawfully arsenic a past edifice arsenic she desperately tried to power Atkinson, who she said was “actively resisting and trying to get up”.
Claiming to person been terrified, the probationary officer, who is 5ft 5in tall, said the incidental was the lone juncture she had drawn her baton during her full-time service, which began six months earlier.
Atkinson had not flinched during 2 of 3 taser deployments, and appeared to consciousness nary symptom erstwhile helium smashed a window.
“I thought helium was trying to get up to fight,” she told the court. “In my sentiment helium was trying to get up connected to his hands and knees.
“I was terrified of Mr Atkinson getting up. I was terrified to adjacent get adjacent to him due to the fact that I thought I would travel to superior harm if helium was to get up.
“If I could person done thing to not usage my baton that night, past I would have. There was nary choler oregon losing my cool.”
Bettley-Smith, a societal enactment graduate, said that being told of Atkinson’s decease had near her feeling overwhelmed and that the feelings had not got immoderate easier during the past six years.
“I unrecorded it each day,” she said.