Happy Mondays' Bez convicted of assault

Dancer with Manchester band found guilty of attacking ex-girlfriend following an argument about money

Happy Mondays' Bez has had an unhappy Thursday. The dancer with the Manchester band was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Monica Ward, at the couple's home in May. Bez called the proceedings a "kangaroo court", claiming he attacked Ward in self-defence.

Bez, real name Mark Berry, had an argument with Ward, accusing her of stealing £300 the pair received for a performance by their band, Domino Bones. "I told him he had put down the money somewhere and forgotten where he had put it," Ward told Manchester magistrates court. "[Suddenly] he had both hands around my neck. He was just looking insane and squeezing me for about five seconds. He told me he was going to kill me before the police arrived."

Bez dismissed this version of events, claiming he had hidden most of the money but that some of it was missing. "I loved the woman, I loved her with all my heart," he insisted. "There was no battering, no throttling, that is her fabrication ... I feel as if my reputation as a man has been destroyed. The last few months I have felt like a rapist. I feel my soul has been ripped out of me."

According to Marie Cash, chair of the bench, Ward was a "convincing" and "credible" witness. Although the court accepted the attack was probably "gentle", it ruled that "a technical assault took place ... at the lower end of the scale".

Bez and Ward have a two-year-old son. Sentencing is set for 25 August, pending appeal.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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