Monday 21 January 2019

Search for man who told Irish mum ‘I’m going to dance on your face' and 'left her for dead'

Police are hoping to talk to John Paul Berry
Police are hoping to talk to John Paul Berry
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A search is underway for a man who assaulted a young Irish mum for five hours in her own home and "left her for dead."

Mary-Anne Connors (23) was left fighting for her life and needed surgery for cheekbones, nose and jaw, she may also lose the sight in her left eye.

Mum-of-one Mary-Anne, who is originally from Co Wicklow, was found unconscious by a neighbour at her house in Stansted, Essex on July 23.

Police are hoping to speak to John Paul Berry, who is known to Mary-Anne, in connection with the incident.

Mary-Anne's mother Mary Connor has spoken about the "traumatic" attack.

The Irish Sun reports that she said: “I can’t imagine what she went through. I’m just glad that she’s alive. It was just horrific. He left her for dead.

“She is still in excruciating pain and still in critical care. It has been very traumatic for her and the family. The injuries are life changing.

“[Her attacker] told her, ‘I’m going to dance on your face’ and he put some hard dancing shoes on and she asked him to leave but he didn’t.

“She tried to scream but he punched her and knocked her out and danced on both sides of her face. He hit her with a baby rocking chair.

“The attack definitely started the day before she was found and it went on for at least five hours. He has also damaged her teeth and she has lost some hair after he pulled on it.”

She revealed that her daughter was only found when a neighbour heard Mary-Anne's two-year-old daughter crying.

She explained: “The neighbour found Mary-Anne and the baby crying at 5.30am. That baby could’ve fallen down the stairs. Anything could have happened.

“She fainted when she found Mary-Anne but then rang us and said, ‘she’s hurt, she’s like the elephant man. He’s left her for dead. The baby is crying’.

“I was very panicked and worried. It was horrific when we found her. We checked that he wasn’t hiding in the flat.

“Mary-Anne only remembers ten seconds of the attack and remembers thinking about the safety of her child.

“It makes me feel angry to know that he’s still out there after what he’s done. We can’t go back to that flat because of the memories. Even if he was arrested it would be too hard.”

Mary paid tribute to her daughter, calling her "kind and gentle".

She said: “Mary-Anne has never been in trouble. She is a really kind and gentle person.

“She is timid. She used to take pride in her appearance. She’s got lovely cheekbones and he destroyed them.

“We will strive to make sure her daughter has the best upbringing and never experiences anything like this.”

Police have appealed for information about the attack and no arrests have yet been made.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for information to help find a man from Gloucester who they want to speak to in connection with a serious assault in Dunmow, Essex.

“John Paul Berry, 28, is described as being between 5ft 6in to 5ft 9in tall, of slim to medium build with brown hair a brown beard and moustache. He has a number of tattoos on his arms and chest. He also goes by the name of Jonny.”

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