Dalian Atkinson prophesied death and thought police would kill him, court told

Football star Dalian Atkinson prophesied his own death and believed the NHS or police would kill him, a court heard today (Wednesday, September 14).

PC Mary Ellen Bettley-Smith, 32, is appearing at Birmingham Crown Court accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following the death of the retired Aston Villa, Manchester City, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town striker, 48, on August 15, 2016.

Atkinson died outside his dad's home in Telford, Shropshire, after being Tasered and kicked in the head by PC Benjamin Monk.

The court was told that Bettley-Smith beat Atkinson with a baton shortly before his death.

Jurors heard that the two officers were called to the home after the footballer tried to smash his way in.

They were told Atkinson was "significantly unwell" and "losing touch with reality" due to kidney failure, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Giving evidence today, Atkinson's partner Karen Wright described his strange behaviour on the day of his death.

She said: "By the evening his behaviour was very unusual. He said: 'You'll see when I'm dead, I'm the Messiah.' He then pulled the line out of his dialysis and said he was free.

"Dalian turned around and said 'I'm sorry Kaz' and he took the keys to my car from a bag. He once said: 'You'll see when I'm dead that the world is sock-shaped.'"

Ms Wright said she got a call from Atkinson during the confrontation and heard him saying "do you know who you're speaking to" before the phone cut out.

She added: ""I could hear Dalian at the door speaking to people.

"Dalian said the whole family was plotting to kill him. Dalian started to shout down the telephone that he was the Messiah.

"I could hear: 'You're gonna Taser me, I'm the Messiah, I'm the Messiah, you cannot hurt me.'"

Richard Smith, defending, asked her: "He had for instance talked about how he was concerned that he might die at the hands of the police or the NHS, is that right?'

Ms Wright replied: "Yes, he thought after he was diagnosed with kidney failure he was being given a drug that shrivelled his kidneys. He was scared of them."

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis said doctors were of the opinion that Atkinson's altered mental state and disturbed behaviour were likely due to toxins in his body due to his health problems.

"No alcohol was found in his system. Toxicological findings showed a low concentration of paracetamol," Mr Jarvis added.

Mr Jarvis also read out a summary of a statement made by Dalian's father Ernest, 85 and living alone at the time, recalling the night he last saw him.

He said: "Dalian asked why his father and the rest of the family were trying to kill him. Dalian said: 'I'm alive. I'm the Messiah and I've come to kill you.'

"Dalian described himself as a born-again Christian. Dalian grabbed Ernest by the throat and told him not to move or he would kill his brothers."

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A statement was also read out from Paul Atkinson, one of Dalian's brothers, who told police he also saw Dalian claiming he was "the Messiah".

Monk Tasered Atkinson for 33 seconds before kicking him twice in the head and was jailed for eight years for manslaughter in June last year.

Bettley-Smith, of West Mercia Police, claims she used reasonable force and acted in self-defence because she thought her life was in danger.

The trial continues.

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