Man jailed for murder after stabbing victim’s death five years on from Wigan attack

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for stabbing and killing a man, who did not die until five years after the attack in Wigan.

John Berry, 34, of HMP Dovegate, was found guilty of murder at Liverpool Crown Court and will serve a minimum sentence of 19 years.

Berry attacked 37-year-old Dean Owen, stabbing him in the abdomen and injuring his arms and back at a flat on Loch Street, Orrell, on Monday May 21 2007.

Dean survived the attack but was bleeding heavily and was taken to hospital where he received surgery.

But, sadly, septicaemia that was linked to the abdominal stab wound, killed Dean on May 19 2012 – Berry was subsequently summonsed and charged with murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Howard Millington of GMP’s Serious Crime Division, who was the senior investigating officer on the case, described the situation as both ‘tragic’ and ‘unusual’.

He 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.”

At the time of the attack, Berry was charged with section 18 wounding and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

There used to be a time limit of one year and a day for murder prosecutions after the initial incident but it has been revoked.

DCI Millington said thanks to the new rules, GMP will fight for justice for victims no matter how long it takes.

He said: “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“It is only because this time limit was repealed that we were able to proceed with this case.

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

“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.”

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