Jail for Essex husband, 85, who used hammer and chisel to murder wife with Alzheimer's

John Berry admitted the murder of his wife Edna.
Credit: Essex Police
John Berry has been sentenced to at least 10 years in jail after admitting the murder of his wife. Credit: Essex Police

An elderly husband who used a hammer and chisel to murder his wife has been jailed.

John Berry called 999 himself after carrying out the attack on his wife Edna at their home in Clacton in Essex.

When police arrived at their home in Turpins Close at lunchtime on 21 February 2023 they found him outside the bungalow and Mrs Berry, 80, in the bedroom with a serious head injury.

She was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge but later died of her injuries.

Chelmsford Crown Court was told that Mrs Berry had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in March 2021.

Berry, 85, told police he had "lost his temper" after she had "kicked and scratched him".

He initially admitted manslaughter and was due to stand trial at Chelmsford Crown Court in November last year.

However, at the start of the trial he entered a guilty plea to murder. 

He was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court to life with a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Det Chief Insp Ant Alcock said it had been a tragic episode and offered his sympathy to everyone affected.

“Understandably, Edna’s family have been deeply affected by this incident and throughout an incredibly testing time, they have handled themselves with dignity. 

“Today’s sentence is unlikely to provide them with any closure and my only thoughts are with them. I sincerely hope that, with time, their pain eases."

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