Pc who killed Dalian Atkinson set to be sacked after admitting misconduct

Pc Benjamin Monk is facing dismissal without notice at a fast-track disciplinary hearing.

Dalian Atkinson death
Dalian Atkinson death

The police constable serving an eight-year jail sentence for the manslaughter of ex-footballer Dalian Atkinson is facing “inevitable” dismissal without notice after admitting gross misconduct.

Pc Benjamin Monk did not attend a fast-track disciplinary hearing, but his lawyer, Patrick Gibbs QC, said the 43-year-old accepted West Mercia Police has “no alternative” to dismissal.

The hearing was convened to consider an allegation of discreditable conduct, after the judge who jailed Monk ruled he had used unlawful force which “carried a high risk of really serious injury”.

Aston Villa v Huddersfield Town – Sky Bet Championship – Villa Park
A tribute to Dalian Atkinson at Villa Park following his death in 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)

Monk was cleared of murder but unanimously convicted of manslaughter on June 23 after a nine-week trial heard he had kicked 48-year-old Mr Atkinson in the head at least twice, after he was tasered to the ground.

The former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town star died in hospital after losing consciousness following his arrest near his childhood home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.

At Friday’s hearing in Worcester, Mr Gibbs told West Mercia Chief Constable Anthony Bangham: “I formally confirm that Pc Monk accepts that… the force will have no alternative but to dismiss him without notice.”

After submitting 13 letters of reference from other officers, Mr Gibbs told the hearing that Monk had also attracted many unsolicited letters of support from the public during his 19-year policing career.

Referring to Monk’s conviction for manslaughter, Mr Gibbs added that the judge had accepted that the response officer’s use of a Taser had not been unlawful.

Mr Gibbs added: “It came down to the kicks and the jury found that in the heat of the moment he had gone beyond what was reasonable and convicted him.

“And for that it is inevitable that you will have to dismiss him.”

John Beggs QC, representing West Mercia Police, told the hearing the judge had said the kicks to the head were a contributory factor in Mr Atkinson’s death.

Mr Beggs said: “Inevitably a conviction of this order, as admitted, constitutes discreditable conduct, discredits West Mercia Police and the wider police service, and is susceptible to only one rational outcome.”

The hearing, attended by Monk’s partner, sister and brother-in-law, was told the Pc had previously been commended for saving the life of someone who was suicidal.

Following the guilty verdict against Monk at Birmingham Crown Court, it emerged that he had kept his job in 2011 despite having failed to mention two criminal cautions on his application to join the force.

Dalian Atkinson death
Police at the scene in Meadow Close, Telford, after the unlawful killing of Dalian Atkinson (Joe Giddens/PA)

The court was told that two cautions issued to him in 1997 and 1999, for theft from a shop during a summer holiday job, and for being found drunk, were not disclosed on his application papers in 2001.

Disciplinary proceedings took place in 2011, at which Monk was found to have committed gross misconduct, breaching standards for honesty, and was given a final written warning for a period of 18 months.

The previous gross misconduct case led relatives of Mr Atkinson to claim Monk “should never have been working for the police” when he used the unreasonable force which killed him.

According to the charity Inquest, Monk is the first police officer in England and Wales to be found guilty of unlawful killing over a death in custody or following police contact since 1986.

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