The killer police constable convicted of the manslaughter of former footballer Dalian Atkinson was found guilty of gross misconduct before he killed him – after hiding two cautions on his application to join the force.
Birmingham Crown Court was told Benjamin Monk kept his job with West Mercia Police in 2011 after being found to have breached required standards for honesty and integrity.
A judge who is due to sentence Monk was told 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.
Monk was last week cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter, after a trial heard he tasered Mr Atkinson to the ground with a 33-second deployment of the weapon, and then kicked him twice in the head while he was on the ground.
The officer, who denied both charges, said he could only recall aiming one kick at Mr Atkinson’s shoulder outside the former Aston Villa, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town star’s childhood home in Meadow Close, Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016.
Addressing the court on Monday, prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said: ‘Mr Monk was cautioned for theft from a shop as an employee – he was employed at the time at Woolworths in 1997.
Dalian Atkinson died on August 15 outside his father’s home in Telford, Shropshire
PC Benjamin Monk interview with IOPC investigators from 26 August 2016
‘There was a further caution in 1999 for being found drunk.’
The court was told the warnings were not recorded on a computer system because of policies at the time for dealing with spent cautions.
Speaking before Monk was remanded in custody as sentence was adjourned until Tuesday, Ms Healy added: ‘When he applied to join the police in 2001 he did not disclose the existence of those cautions.’
The court heard Monk did disclose one of the cautions on a vetting form issued ‘during the course of his role as a police officer’ in 2010.
Ms Healy added: ‘At that stage he did disclose the theft caution, which led to the discovery of both of the cautions.’
Disciplinary proceedings were then launched and as a result Monk was found to have committed gross misconduct, breaching standards for honesty, and he was given a final written warning for a period of 18 months on February 2 2011.
PC Benjamin Monk discharged a Taser on Atkinson and kicked him twice in the head
Atkinson confronted police on this quiet cul-de-sac in Telford, Shropshire, in August 2016. Pictured is the emergency services response on the night
Last killer policeman was convicted back in 1986
Sergeant Alwyn Sawyer is the last serving police officer until today to be convicted of manslaughter.
Henry Foley, 67, had been arrested for being drunk in Southport and put into the cells on February 11, 1985.
The next day he was not released and it was claimed he attacked a police officer in his cell, leading to him being handcuffed behind his back.
Another officer Sergeant Sawyer took over at the police station and went into the holding area where Mr Foley was being kept.
The prisoner was stamped or kicked so badly his bowel was ruptured and later after complaining of stomach pain was rushed to hospital.
He died at 7.15pm that night from a heart attack brought on by his injuries.
Sawyer was charged and stood trial in February 1986, with the jury taking four hours to clear him of murder – but guilty of manslaughter.
He was jailed for seven years, with the judge telling him he had committed a ‘gross act’
During submissions from Monk’s QC, Patrick Gibbs, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said the cautions were of no relevance ‘in the circumstances of the case’ and he would treat the officer as being of previous good character when he is sentenced.
After family victim impact statements were read to the court on behalf of Mr Atkinson’s four siblings and his partner, Karen Wright, Mr Gibbs claimed the 43-year-old Pc’s mental health had been profoundly affected by the case.
He told the judge: ‘As you can imagine, Mr Monk has thought about Mr Atkinson and Meadow Close every day for the last four years and 10 months – reliving in his mind how these events might have ended differently.
‘Perhaps there won’t ever be a day when he doesn’t think about that.’
Mr Gibbs said it was agreed that Pc Monk went to Meadow Close ‘for the best of reasons’ before 59 seconds during which his conduct had been found to be unlawful.
‘The 59 seconds stand not just at odds with the previous five minutes, not just at odds with the previous five years, but at odds with the whole of his police career. In fact, at odds with the whole of his adult life.’
Among the statements read to the court by Ms Healy in tribute to Mr Atkinson was one from his sister Otis.
Ms Healy told the court: ‘She describes Dalian not just being her little brother but her friend. He was kind and loving throughout his childhood.’
Otis said: ‘He brought so much life and energy into any room that he entered. He would say what no one else would dare – but far from causing offence he would make us laugh at ourselves.’