Miss Venezuela beauty queen and British husband shot dead in front of their daughter
A beauty queen and her British ex-husband have been gunned down in front of their five-year-old daughter during a roadside robbery.
Travel firm boss Thomas Henry Berry, 39, was killed along with Monica Spear, 29, after their car broke down on a motorway in Venezuela.
Their daughter Maya Veliz was injured in the attack and is recovering in hospital with her grandparents by her side. Her life is not said to be in danger.
Mr Berry moved to Venezuela with his parents Tom and Kate when he was aged seven but used to travel back regularly to visit relatives and friends.
His sister Katie lives in Scotland after moving back to Britain several years ago with her Venezuelan-born husband Luis.
Murder squad detectives are hunting his killers, who struck after their victims broke down on a motorway.
Mr Berry’s ex-wife, the 2004 Miss Venezuela winner, had forged a successful new career as an actress and had returned to Venezuela for a family break from her new home in the States.
The pair divorced in 2013 after four years of marriage but had remained good friends and are thought to have holidayed together with their daughter Maya Veliz before last night’s shooting.
They were travelling from Puerto Cabello towards Venezuela’s third largest city Valencia in a grey Toyota Corolla when they were attacked. The incident took place in an area 200 miles west of Caracas called El Cambur.
Mr Berry was shot in the chest and his ex-wife is believed to have suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
The bodies of Mr Berry and his ex-wife were taken to a morgue in Valencia, the capital city of Carabobo State which lies around 110 miles west of the capital Caracas.
A team of detectives led by police chief Jose Gregorio Sierralta were sent from Caracas to Valencia to work on the case.
Police sources said early reports suggested the couple had been shot dead after putting up resistance before taking refuge in their car.
The vehicle they were travelling in has been taken to a police pound for forensic tests.
Two state prosecutors have been put in charge of the investigation into the double murder.
Venezuela is one of the world’s most violent countries.
The capital Caracas has the sixth greatest homicide rate of any large city in the world, with 98.7 homicides per 100,000 residents in 2011.
There were 118,541 homicides in Venezuela between 1999 and 2010.
Speaking of her divorce from Mr Berry last year to a local newspaper, Ms Spear said: “It was a spectacular divorce.
“My friends ask me if I have suffered and they’re amazed when I tell them I haven’t.
“What happened is that I married a very civilised person and when we took the decision to go our separate ways we talked about the fact we had a daughter together and decided we should carry on seeing each other for the rest of our lives and it was best for our daughter that we got on well with each other.
“I want the best for him and he wants the best for me. I can assure you there are no problems between us.”
Tributes poured into Ms Spear’s Instagram account today after news of her murder broke, with fans describing how unfair life was and expressing their sympathy to her and her family.
She posted the video below just six hours before she was gunned down at 10pm, local time in Venezuela.