Prison sentence extended for man involved in Dunmow attack

A man wearing red in a 'mugshot': John Berry

Custody image of John Berry. Picture: Essex Police - Credit: Essex Police

Content warning: This article contains a description of injuries caused by abuse and domestic violence which some readers may find upsetting.

A man who strangled and beat his ex-partner in Dunmow has had his prison sentence increased after an intervention by the government's chief legal advisor.

John Berry, 32, of Mansfield Mews, Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, broke into his ex-partner's home on July 24, 2017.

He left her with seven fractures to her face and a ruptured spleen.

Berry was jailed for nine years at Chelmsford Crown Court in November 2020, but his sentence was found to be "unduly lenient" after the Attorney General personally took the case to the Court of Appeal.


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Following the appeal ruling (May 7), Berry will now face 15 years imprisonment followed by a further five years out on license.

The Attorney General Michael Ellis MP said: "[Berry's] actions have caused significant harm to the victim, who I hope will feel some comfort from the decision."

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The injuries which Berry inflicted on his ex-partner were so severe that they are usually seen in high-speed car collisions, according to the Attorney General's office.

Berry broke into his ex-partner's home before carrying out the attack in 2017.

He had been in a relationship with the victim and following his release from prison on a separate charge, he started visiting his ex-partner at her home.

He had 13 previous convictions for a total of 40 offences, five of which were against the victim in this case.

Berry was arrested nine months after the attack, in Cambridge in March 2018.

He was found guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent last year.

Acting independently, the Attorney General referred the case to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme.

A man in a blue suit: Michael Ellis QC MP

Michael Ellis QC MP, the Attorney General, personally presented the case to the Court of Appeal - Credit: gov.uk

At the appeal, Berry was classed a Dangerous Offender, which means he is considered a major risk of serious harm.

The Attorney General said: "Berry entered into his victim’s home and viciously attacked her, inflicting life-changing injuries.

"He then sought to escape justice both before and after being arrested."

If you are affected by the issues in this story, Essex Compass runs a county-wide support line 8am-8pm weekdays and 8am-1pm weekends on 0330 333 7 444 or on www.essexcompass.org.uk.

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