London (AFP) – The jury in the Dalian Atkinson murder trial at Birmingham Crown Court heard a statement Thursday from the former footballer’s father that his son was “not in his right mind” on the night he was tasered outside his family home.
The statement was given to officers by the then 85-year-old Ernest Atkinson a week after his son’s death.
Ernest Atkinson, who has since died, told police his son had grabbed him around the throat after “pounding” on the door of his home in the early hours of the morning.
The trial heard on Tuesday that Atkinson, who played for Villa in the 1990s, went into cardiac arrest and died aged 48 on August 15, 2016 in Telford, 30 miles (50 kilometres) from Birmingham, after a Taser was deployed for six times longer than is standard.
Police Constable Benjamin Monk has denied charges of murder and manslaughter regarding the death of Atkinson, while PC Ellen Bettley-Smith has pleaded not guilty to assault.
The prosecution also alleges Monk delivered at least two kicks to Atkinson’s head.
Prosecution lawyer Paul Jarvis, who summarised the statement and read it into the court record on Thursday, told jurors that Dalian, according to Ernest Atkinson, seemed to be upset, with his father opening the door for him because he was banging on it.
“Dalian told Ernest Atkinson that he loved him and asked why his father and the rest of the family were trying to kill him,” Jarvis said.
– ‘Messiah’ –
The court heard Atkinson recalled Dalian saying: “I’m alive, I am the messiah, and I have come to kill you.”
Jarvis, continuing to summarise the statement, said: “At that, Dalian grabbed Ernest by the throat and pushed him down into a chair. He told him not to move otherwise he would kill Paul and Kenroy, Dalian’s brothers.
“Dalian asked his father how much they had paid him.”
After Dalian had continued to shout, the court was told that Ernest heard a knock at the door and a voice on the other side of the door said “police”.
“From inside the house, Ernest could see and hear Dalian standing with his hands out and say “You are going to Taser me. I’m the messiah, you cannot hurt me”.
Ernest Atkinson, who thought police would be able to calm his son down, then heard a bang as the glass in his front door was smashed.
He then saw two police offers, who informed him “Dalian was fine and that he was in an ambulance on the way to hospital”,” the court was told.
Jarvis added: “A short time later a police officer came into Ernest’s kitchen to tell him his son had died.
“Ernest told the police that, in his view, his son had not been in his right mind that morning.”