Experienced police officer Pc Benjamin Monk said he could not remember several aspects of the night Dalian Atkinson died, including resting his boot on the former sportsman’s head as he lay on the ground.
The 43-year-old, aged 38 at the time of Mr Atkinson’s death in August 2016, told Birmingham Crown Court he was 6ft and weighed around 15 stones (95kg) at the time of the incident, making him taller and heavier than his victim, who was 5ft 11ins (180cm) and 13 stone 10 lbs (86.9kg).
It emerged at Monk’s trial that he had not discharged a Taser during 2016 before firing it three times in Meadow Close, Telford, culminating in a 33-second deployment which prosecutors said became illegal after the initial few seconds of “standard” activation.
Although he had drawn a Taser four times before in 2016, subjects had been compliant before the weapon was fired.
In February and March 2016, Monk was involved in incidents where he had drawn a Taser and “red-dotted” a target, but on other occasions in May and July he had drawn the weapon but had not got to the stage of “red-dotting” those he was seeking to control.
Monk told the court that he grew up in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, living with his parents for the first 25 years of his life.
Speaking of his parents, he said: “My dad, he started life in the RAF and he became an architect.
“Mom was in an administration role and worked within the district council in the local area.”
Monk has an older sister, under a year older, the court was told, and went to school in Shrewsbury and then Bridgnorth.
He went on to do a diploma in Sports Science at Shrewsbury College, and joined the police in 2002, aged 22.
His first posting with the West Mercia force was to Ludlow, where he spent the first seven years of his career in uniform. He was then in FOST (Force Operations Support Team) from 2010, where as part of his training, he was first authorised to use Taser.
Describing the unit’s purpose, he said: “It’s a dynamic unit where we have to deal with, the majority of the time, traffic incidents where we’re involved with, unfortunately, fatalities and serious collisions but we also have to offer support to response officers who didn’t have Tasers.
“We were backup team for incidents that were more serious.”
The court heard that Taser deployment forms showed he had used his Taser four times in 2016.
However, Monk clarified to court that he had used his Taser once in 2010, and on that occasion had discharged the device.
He was posted to Telford’s Malinsgate police station in 2013, where he joined the 25-strong response team.
It was at that stage he was again trained in Taser operation, undergoing a refresher in 2016. During the trial, prosecutors claimed Monk had taken out his anger on Atkinson after being “humiliated” and running away from him.
But his counsel Patrick Gibbs QC said it was clear from the evidence of eyewitnesses, radio transmissions and remarks made by Monk that he was frightened, confused and panicked at the scene.
Questioning the Crown’s case that Monk had “become a murderer” during the last minute of a six-minute confrontation, Mr Gibbs told jurors the facts of the case suggested otherwise, adding: “If he wasn’t frightened, you might ask yourselves, why on earth wasn’t he frightened given what had happened?
“He had certainly been frightened enough moments before to run away, just as a witness described.
“He had never done that before.”
After pointing out that a Taser was specifically designed not to cause really serious injury, Mr Gibbs added: “Police officers are no different to you and me in their ability to feel frightened.”
On Tuesday Monk was jailed for eight years after being convicted of Mr Atkinson’s manslaughter.