Killing of London man Thomas Henry Berry and beauty queen ex-wife ‘like many others in Venezuela’

14:43 09 January 2014

Thomas Henry Berry, with his ex-wife Monica Spear

Thomas Henry Berry, with his ex-wife Monica Spear

Archant

The killing of London man Thomas Henry Berry and his ex-wife in Venezuela earlier this week follow a pattern of similar late night attacks on roads in the South American country, according to a violence watchdog.

Thomas Henry Berry with his daughter, who was injured in the attackThomas Henry Berry with his daughter, who was injured in the attack

Former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear, 29, and her 39-year-old ex-husband, a British citizen, were shot dead on Monday, in an attack that also injured their five-year-old daughter.

The director of the Violence Observatory, Roberto Briceno, said the killings “bring into relief a common reality of daily life in Venezuela”.

Hundreds of actors and writers took to the streets of the capital Caracas yesterday to demand the government protect its citizens from the callous killers responsible for giving Venezuela one of the world’s highest murder rates.

More than nine in 10 murders go unsolved in the troubled oil-rich nation, according to the independent Venezuelan Violence Observatory.

Thomas Henry Berry with his wife Monica SpearThomas Henry Berry with his wife Monica Spear

Robbers killed Ms Spear and Mr Berry around 10.30pm local time on an isolated stretch of highway while the couple was returning to the capital by car with their daughter from a holiday.

Mr Briceno’s watchdog counted nearly 45,000 people killed last year - 79 for every 100,000 Venezuelans.

“One need not necessarily be flashing around signs of wealth to be a victim,” Mr Briceno said. The dead couple were driving a 2002 Toyota Corolla.

Prosecutors last night announced the arrest of seven suspects, saying that “various belongings of the victims were seized”.

Police said Ms Spear and Mr Berry tried to foil the assault by locking themselves inside their car, which had been disabled by tyre punctures. But the attackers fired into the car.

A single bullet that entered through Ms Spear’s right rib cage killed her, said Katty Pulido, her manager.

Mr Berry was killed by three bullets to his chest, while their daughter, Maya, was wounded in the right leg by a bullet that did not strike bone, Ms Pulido added.

It was Maya who told police how the criminals killed her parents “out of vengeance,” she said.

“This is something that happens a lot in Venezuela,” she said of fatal shootings during armed robberies.

“They (the police) cover it up in a lot of cases but they can’t when the victims are well-known.”

Ms Spear’s parents have arrived in Caracas from their home in Orlando, Florida, while Mr Berry’s parents had been with Maya at a private clinic in Caracas.

Ms Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004 and competed in the Miss Universe pageant the following year.

She had acted in numerous soap operas, most recently in Pasion Prohibida for the US-based Telemundo network.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Midsomer Murders’ Neil Dudgeon has admitted DCI Barnaby’s new baby daughter Betty is hard work.

Read more

Joaquin Phoenix has compared picking film roles to dating.

Read more

Hollyoaks star Jessica Fox thinks her character Nancy Osborne needs to check into rehab.

Read more

Promoted content

Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea

London Hilton on Park Lane is inviting couples to celebrate this Valentines Day over a deliciously romantic afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant and Bar. Taking inspiration from the highly popular Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton on Park Lane presents the ultimate romantic afternoon out with its Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

Nothing says

iWOOT has a great selection of quirky Valentine’s Day gifts for every possible person and partner.

People thought the Deputy Prime Minister was pretty funny actually.

Brothers: The David Haines Story, will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland at 10.30am on Sunday.

Over £30,000 has been raised in a couple of days for a mugging victim, despite the goal only being set at £500.

Quirky London