The police officer who killed the former footballer Dalian Atkinson, kicking him in the head while he was down on the ground, has been jailed for eight years.
PC Benjamin Monk was convicted last week of manslaughter after a jury found his use of a stun gun for 33 seconds and at least two kicks to Atkinson’s head killed him.
Monk, 43, was sentenced on Tuesday by Judge Melbourne Inman QC at Birmingham crown court.
Monk, who serves with the West Mercia force, is the first British police officer in more than three decades to be convicted of manslaughter during the course of his duties.
His conviction came after he set upon Atkinson on 15 August 2016. Police were called to a disturbance with Atkinson acting in an erratic and out of character fashion having gone to Meadow Close, Telford, where his father lived.
The late-night incident involving police officers and Atkinson, 48, lasted six minutes.
The judge said he accepted that the officer was dealing with a difficult situation that evening with Atkinson in a “form of psychotic state” and being threatening.
Inman said: “For five minutes you were dealing with a very unpredictable and no doubt frightening situation where you were confronted by a man who had to be restrained and controlled because of the level of threat he posed … It was thereafter, when Mr Atkinson was on the floor that you used force that went beyond that which was reasonable in the circumstances.”
Atkinson had shouted he was the “Messiah”, smashed glass in a door and the judge said Monk had tried to calm him down.
The judge accepted Monk’s genuine remorse and that the excessive violence he used was out of character, with senior colleagues praising his work as an officer.
Atkinson was kicked with such force that his blood was found in the laces of Monk’s police-issue boots, and imprints from them found on the forehead of the former Aston Villa striker.
One witness said when Atkinson was kicked while on the ground he head snapped back.
Monk was seen with his boot rested on Atkinson’s head. Atkinson by then was barely conscious and would be pronounced dead within 70 minutes.
The judge said Monk’s time in prison would be more difficult because he was a police officer, but his job also was an aggravating factor.
Inman said: “The public entrust powers to the police which they expect to be used for the common good of society.
“The sentence must reflect the importance of maintaining public confidence in our police. You have let yourself and the force down. Although they were difficult, you failed to act appropriately in the circumstances as they developed and you used a degree of force in delivering two kicks to the head which was excessive and which were a cause of Mr Atkinson’s death.”
After his conviction, Monk is expected to face a fasttrack disciplinary hearing and be sacked from the police, which he joined in 2002.
The judge told Monk he would be eligible for release after serving two-thirds of his sentence.