Man shot dead in Venezuela along with wife was British national
Published 07/01/2014 | 17:09
A MAN shot dead in Venezuela and reported as being Irish in various media outlets was British, friends have confirmed.
The actress Monica Spear Mootz (29) and her husband, Thomas Henry Berry(39), were killed on a motorway in Venezuela last night.
However, a close friend of Mr Berry said Thomas had emigrated to Venezuela from his native Britain when he was about seven.
Luis Dominguez, a former business partner of Mr Berry's said: "Thomas was a very close friend of mine. I'm absolutely devastated.
M Dominguez said: "If they're reporting in the Venezuelan press that he was Irish I don't know where they've got that information from."
"I saw his passport several times and he was definitely British.
"I'm pretty sure he came from London but I don't know exactly where he was from.
"His parents always used to say they came here for the climate.
"He never adopted Venezuelan nationality despite all his years here and always used to wear an England shirt and cheer for his national side whenever there was a football match on.
"He also had a tattoo of a lion."
According to local media, the couple’s car broke down on the Puerto Cabello-Valencia road.
While waiting for the repair vehicle to arrive, Monical Spear Mootz - a former Ms Venezuela - and her husband were shot dead.
They are survived by a five-year-old daughter who was in the car at the time.
She suffered small injuries to her leg and was taken to hospital.
Head of the Police Homicide Division confirmed the information and said an investigation has begun into the murders.
It is believed that the motive for the murder was the theft of the car.
His parents, retired university professor Tom and mum Kate, still live in the capital Venezuela.
Their other child, Katie, returned to Britain as a grown-up and is now living in Scotland with her Venezuelan husband.
Mr Dominguez has told how he broke the news to Thomas' sister at her home in Edinburgh.
Mr Dominguez also said that it was not the first time that Berry had been attacked on the streets of Venezuela
"He had already been shot once by robbers trying to steal his car.
"His friend died in the incident and although doctors saved Thomas' life, they couldn't extract the bullet and he still had it in his stomach.
"He moved to the States to get away from things here for a while but missed Venezuela and came back.”
"His parents still live here but he's got family in England and used to go back every two years to see friends and relatives.
"I phoned his sister up to tell her because I didn't want her to read about what had happened to Thomas in the press.
"I'm not sure if she'll fly over or not.
"His parents are with his daughter in hospital and I haven't been able to speak to them.
"Thomas got divorced from his wife last year but they remained good friends."
Spear was one of the most successful actresses in Venezuela , known for her roles in soap operas.
She first came to fame with her part in the successful soap opera, ‘Mi Prima Ciela’ which was also aired in the US.
She recently starred in ‘Flor Salvaje’ a Spanish soap opera produced by a US-based network.