A WIDOW has told of her years of torment with her husband.
Gillian Berry broke down in the witness box during the murder trial of her son, Darren Gregson, at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.
Gregson, 30, is accused of the murder of his stepfather and Gillian's husband, Mark Berry, 49, at the family home on Spring Bank Drive, Norristhorpe, on Friday, June 3.
He denies the charge.
Mrs Berry told the jury of six men and six women how an alcoholic Mr Berry had beaten and verbally abused her and her two children during their six-year marriage.
Mrs Berry said she and former Tesco manager Mr Berry had begun working together in the early 90s.
She said: "When I joined the store where I worked I found him very arrogant. Really rude. I just didn't like him."
Mrs Berry told the court she grew close to Mr Berry in 1992, when his father committed suicide and she became a shoulder to cry on.
The two, who were both already married, left their partners and eventually moved in together at a house on Halifax Road in Liver- sedge in 1994.
They got married in July, 1999, after moving to Spring Bank Drive that year.
Mrs Berry told prosecutor Andrew Campbell QC her marriage to Mr Berry had not been a happy one.
She said: "My relationship I would describe in three parts. The first part was horrible, the middle was OK and the last two to three years were horrendous."
Mrs Berry, who also worked at Tesco, said that after her husband, who was diagnosed as an alcoholic in 2001, retired on the grounds of ill-health a couple of years ago he drank heavily.
She said: "He was just drunk every day, to the point I didn't want to go home from work because he was abusive and violent.
"He just made my life and my family's life hell."
Mrs Berry said her husband had been violent towards her and had twice ended up in court.
He was given a conditional discharge in 2001 and in 2004 was put on probation for assaulting her.
She told the court how on other occasions in their stormy marriage he had pushed her off a wall, fracturing her skull, and put a pillow over her face before punching her, because "he thought the bruises wouldn't show".
Mrs Berry said: "Darren thought he was an OK guy when we first got together.
"As time went by and Mark got physically abusive with myself, and when Mark was drunk, which was regularly, he used to call Darren and my daughter Vicky names, to wind them up.
"It would reduce them to tears. It was mental cruelty."
Mrs Berry said her husband would call her unemployed son, who suffers with epilepsy and depression, offensive names when he saw him. She said her son would spend most of his time in his bedroom to avoid Mr Berry.
Vicky eventually moved out of the semi-detached house, leaving her son alone most days with his stepfather.
One the day of Mr Berry's death his wife had called the house from work and spoken to him briefly - before putting the phone down on him.
She said: "I felt sick knowing that Mark, my husband, was drunk again."
Under cross-examination by defence counsel Douglas Hogg QC Mrs Berry she said she was convinced her son did not mean to seriously injure Mr Berry.
She said: "Darren did not murder Mark Berry. I know Mark was drunk and would have provoked the situation. Darren wouldn't hurt anyone and he's not hurt anyone before."
Earlier in the day pathologist Prof Christopher Milroy told the court about the nine stab wounds Mr Berry had on his body when he was examined.
He said the knife which had been recovered by police was about 20cm long and on some of the wounds the knife had been in "almost all, if not up to the hilt".
One stab wound pierced Mr Berry's heart and the pathologist discovered just under a litre of blood in Mr Berry's chest cavity.
He said: "This person has essentially bled to death in this case."
The trial continues.