Life sentence for murder after stabbing

John Berry
John Berry

A WIGAN man has started a life sentence for murder after stabbing a Wiganer who died five years after the attack.

John Berry was found guilty of killing Dean Owen after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court and told to serve a minimum of 19 years.

Berry, 44, attacked Mr Owen, 37, at a flat on Loch Street in Orrell in May 2007, stabbing him in the abdomen and causing injuries to his arm and back.

Mr Owen was taken to hospital where he received surgery for serious injuries and Berry was charged with wounding and subsequently sentenced to eight years in prison.

Mr Owen died from septicaemia linked to the abdominal injury he received when he was stabbed in May 2012 and Berry was then summonsed and charged with murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Howard Millington of GMP’s serious crime division, who was the senior investigating officer in the case, said: “This is a tragic and also unusual case, as there was five years between the original attack and Dean’s subsequent death.

“I hope that Dean’s family can now try to move on from what has happened and start to rebuild their lives after their traumatic loss.

“This case and the sentencing demonstrates that GMP will pursue justice for victims, no matter how long ago it happened.

“In the past, there was a time limit of a year and a day for prosecutions for murder, but people are now surviving injuries for longer because of advances in medical science, and this rule was quashed. It is only because this time limit was repealed that we were able to proceed with this case.

“If you use violence against others no effort will be spared to ensure the law eventually catches up with you and you will receive the punishment you deserve.

“I hope this case serves as a reminder to all those who think they can offer violence to others that the consequences for you will be serious.”

The trial heard Berry attacked his victim with a machete and a large kitchen knife after becoming angry with him.

Ben Southam, deputy head of the complex casework unit for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North West, also gave his reaction to Berry’s sentencing.

Mr Southam said; “The stab wound that John Berry inflicted on Dean Owen was a life-threatening and life-altering injury. From the day that he received the serious injury until the day that he died, Dean Owen was never free from the great damage that it caused him. It affected him on a daily basis and his quality of life suffered a great deal.

“Dean Owen suffered many difficulties and eventually lost his life because of the devastating injury inflicted by John Berry, and I am pleased that justice has been served today for Dean and his family. My sympathies and thoughts remain with them.

“I am also grateful to the jury for their close attention to the complex medical evidence during the trial.”