Bez protests innocence after jailing for assault

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The Independent Online

Former Happy Mondays star Bez was jailed for four weeks today after assaulting his ex-girlfriend during a row over money.

Bez accused the mother of his two-year-old son of stealing his cash and flew into a rage as he put his hands round her neck and throttled her.

He was originally given a community order today at Manchester Magistrates court, and was asked to pay £450 in costs.

But he told chair of the magistrates' bench Marie Cash that he would not obey the sentence, and protested his innocence.

"I'm not doing it. Bothered. I'm going to appeal and take this to a real court," he said.

In reponse Ms Cash told the former Celebrity Big Brother winner he was going to jail for one month.

Bez, who represented himself, shouted, "Victory is in my grasp" as he was handcuffed and taken to the cells.

His former partner Monica Ward had told the court that he was "looking insane" as he squeezed her neck and kicked down a door.

She said he then threatened to kill her after she alerted police.

Bez, whose real name is Mark Berry, claimed he was acting in self-defence but was convicted of the assault earlier this month.

He started the argument with Ms Ward on May 24 at their flat in Whalley Range, Manchester.

He was also convicted of using unlawful violence to gain entry into their home.

Bez, who found fame for his freaky dancing in the Happy Mondays in the 1980s, said he was upset because he could not find the takings from a concert the night before.

Following the sentence, Bez instructed a solicitor who was in the courtroom for another case to make a bail application on his behalf.

He was also given a restraining order preventing his from contacting his former partner for two years.

Bez's new solicitor, Peter Etherall from Howards Solicitors, lodged an appeal and made a bail application for his client.

He told the court that Bez would now like to accept the community order.

But bail was refused, and Bez was told he will have to appeal against his jail term at crown court, on a date to be fixed.

As he was taken back to the cells, he said: "I can't wait to win this next fixture."