His Birkenhead neighbours had had more than enough of 45-year-old Thomas McBride, the local bully. Forever intoxicated, foul-mouthed and aggressive, he was making a nuisance of himself again on Boxing Day, DECEMBER 26th, 1920, drunkenly bawling obscenities in the street.
William Berry tried to reason with him, but McBride carried on shouting. So Berry gave him a punch in the face, and that silenced him. It knocked him out, and he was taken unconscious to Tranmere hospital.
Even in a semi-coma McBride continued to mutter obscenities, threatening to kill anyone who came near him. His skull had been fractured when he fell and he died shortly afterwards.
Berry was arrested and charged with murder, and at Chester Assizes in January 1921 he told the jury he hadnt intended to injure McBride seriously. He said hed only wanted to shut him up.
The jury believed him, and he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. With remission he served nine months, and returned home a hero.