Tony Berry, returning home from the pub after up to eight pints, snapped and lashed out at wife Claire when a crucifix was also thrust in his face
By: Paul Bryne/UK Mirror
A cheating husband who had an exorcism to save his marriage attacked his wife after being accused of being possessed by Satan a court heard.
Tony Berry snapped when holy water was thrown and a crucifix thrust in his face after he came home from the pub. He grabbed his wife by the neck as she screamed: “You’re not Tony!” and he replied: “No, I’m Satan, Prince of Darkness.”
Weeks later he lashed out again, repeatedly punching her in the face in a “brutal” attack.
Berry, 52, was convicted of two separates assaults but was spared an immediate jail term after magistrates accepted he’d suffered “a degree of provocation”. The court heard he had endured years of his wife Claire’s bizarre behavior after he admitted an affair and she joined an ultra-conservative Catholic sect.
The first attack took place last February after he Berry returned home from work just after 9.30pm.
After hours of arguing about him being with another woman he grabbed his 54-year-old wife by the throat and threw her across the room. Jennifer Fitzgerald, prosecuting, Berry shouted: “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to have your neck!”
The fight, rumbled on for four hours during which time her husband, who admitted having drunk up to eight pints, grabbed her on three more occasions. She thrust a crucifix in his face and her sister Marie O’Flynn, 69, who had gone round to the house, held rosary beads and threw holy water over Berry to subdue him.
The court heard the second attack took place the following month after he returned to their home in New Mills, Derbys, at 1am.
Ms Fitzgerald told High Peak Magistrates in Buxton: “An argument began. Mrs Berry holds some unusual beliefs.
“She believes he is possessed by demons and has a conviction that he may well be possessed by Satan himself.” He went to bed, but she followed him upstairs to continue the fight. He grabbed her by the neck and threw her onto the bed then held her down and repeatedly punched her on the side of her head.
She said she was “too afraid” to stay in the house and slept in the garden under some carpets.The next morning after he let her back into the house Mrs Berry telephoned her sister in Ireland who told her to call an ambulance which took her to hospital.
She had suffered a swelling to the side of her face, bruising to her arms and legs, and damaged her back which caused her “excruciating pain” for some time after and had to walk on crutches.
When questioned the battered wife told police she believed her husband’s behavior was because he was Satan.
She said that in the past she had arranged for her husband to see an exorcist in France because “he had signed a pact with the devil”.
John Bunting, defending, said: “Can you imagine living with someone who says you are possessed by Satan?
“He even agreed to see an exorcist in France. This is not unusual behavior, it’s extraordinary.” But Chairman of the bench Bob Graham told Berry: “Both of these assaults were prolonged and quite brutal and I have to say nasty. Drink was also involved and you also issued threats to kill.
“But we have taken into account there was a degree of provocation.”
Magistrates sentenced Berry to 16 weeks in jail, suspended for two years. They also ordered him to pay $1000 costs and $129.00 victim surcharge.
Outside court Berry, who was raised in the Church of England, said he was “sorry” for the violence and injuries inflicted on his wife, but said he had “snapped”. He said he had agreed to the exorcism last year in a bid to “keep the peace” and save his marriage. But he added: “After all this it’s over.” Dublin-born Mrs Berry is a disciple of the Society of Saint Pius X.
She began following the controversial pre-Vatican branch of Catholicism, which celebrates the Latin mass, after visiting one of their churches in Ireland three years ago.