[QODLink]
Americas

Venezuelan beauty queen shot dead by robbers

Former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and British ex-husband murdered and daughter wounded in attack on broken-down car.

Last updated: 08 Jan 2014 03:57
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A former Venezuelan beauty queen and her ex-husband were shot dead and their five-year-old daughter wounded after they resisted robbers who attacked their car, police have said.

Monica Spear, 29, and Thomas Berry, 39, were killed on Monday near Puerto Cabello, the country's main port, while on a journey to the capital Caracas, investigators said on Tuesday.

Jose Gregorio Sierralta, the director of the country's investigative police, said their car's tyres had been punctured by "a sharp object placed on the highway". Robbers then moved on the stricken vehicle, and apparently opened fire when the family attempted to lock themselves inside.

Spear, who won Miss Venezuela in 2004 before becoming a soap-opera actress, and Berry, a British citizen, suffered multiple wounds. Their five-year-old daughter, Maya, was shot in the leg, local media reported.

Police in Puerto Cabello arrested five suspects, some under age 18, Sierralta said.

The deaths prompted President Nicolas Maduro to lament on state TV "the loss of a very spiritual young woman" actively involved in various charities.

The opposition leader, Henrique Capriles, called on Maduro to put aside political differences and unite "to win the fight against insecurity" and violent crime that claimed nearly 25,000 lives last year. 

Venezuela has one of the world's highest murder rates, ranking 5th globally according to the United Nations.

Spear's death also triggered a wave of anger on social media directed at the populist government's poor record on crime.

She had more than 355,000 followers on Twitter and her feed over the last week included brief videos of holiday scenes.

Spear had acted in numerous soap operas, most recently in Pasion Prohibida' for the US-based Telemundo network.

274

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.