Sisters 4-year-old Aubrey Berry and 6-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Story told by B.C. dad who killed daughters ‘defies logic,’ says judge

Victim impact statements start Tuesday at Andrew Berry’s sentencing hearing in Victoria

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details about a double murder.

The first day of the sentencing hearing for the Oak Bay father who murdered his two young daughters on Christmas day in 2017 began in the Victoria courthouse on Monday.

Andrew Berry’s defense lawyer told the court that Berry maintains he did not kill four-year-old Aubrey and six-year-old Chloe, despite being found guilty by a jury after an almost six-month trial.

Berry sat in the defendant box dressed in a red sweatshirt and pants from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. The back two rows of the courtroom were filled with family and friends. Berry, head tilted down, spent the morning’s proceedings writing on a yellow legal pad and only glanced at those in the gallery when his handcuffs were done back up as he exited the room.

The proceedings began with Crown laying out the aggravating factors that should be taken into account when determining a proper sentence for Berry. Crown counsel Clare Jennings called Berry’s alternate tale of owing money to a loan shark named Paul “completely fabricated” and “self-serving.”

A break was called around noon for Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper to determine what facts had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and would be taken into account.

Jennings told the courts that the jury “clearly rejected that a dark-skinned man killed” the girls, along with injuring Berry in the process. Gropper agreed with Crown following the break, stating that it “defies logic” that the loan shark would kill the children and leave Berry alive.

Evidence shown at trial determined the girls were killed where they were sleeping, in their own home, which Gropper said would be considered an aggravating factor. There was blood inside the suite, but no blood was found anywhere outside the suite.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay father Andrew Berry guilty in daughters’ murders

Chloe was struck in the head and stabbed 26 times, Aubrey was stabbed 32 times. Berry was found naked, in a bathtub full of water with wounds to his neck, which the judge found to be self-inflicted. A small pink bat was found tangled in Chloe’s hair and a knife, similar to a set found in Berry’s kitchen, was found on the floor next to Aubrey’s body. A sheath for the same knife was found on the kitchen floor. Neither girl had defensive wounds, which both Crown and Gropper stated is consistent with them being rendered unconscious prior to being murdered. Berry would have had to turn both girls over at least twice, said Gropper, which was evident by the stab wounds on the front and back of the body.

It is unclear which girl was killed first.

“Berry would have seen the effects of his stabbings and then moved on to the other bedroom and done the same thing to the second daughter. A period of time must have elapsed,” said Jennings, adding that Crown did not know whether all the wounds were inflicted to each child one at a time, or whether Berry went back and forth between the two.

Berry, who had quit his job at BC Ferries, was at the end of his rope financially stated Gropper.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay double murder trial: Five months of evidence, testimony summarized

“He had burned bridges with his parents and couldn’t go to them … he spent all his pension funds to his knowledge and had no further funds coming, he had maxed out all his credit and was in fact in overdraft in all of his accounts,” explained Jennings.

Berry murdered Aubrey and Chloe, at least in part, because he wished to hurt Sarah Cotton, the girls’ mother said Gropper.

“Berry believed, for good reason, that he wouldn’t get the girls back when he handed them over to Sarah on Christmas day,” said the judge. The hydro in Berry’s apartment had been turned off and he admitted he had no money to get it turned back on.

“Whether Berry chose to kill Chloe and Aubrey to protect them from his suicide … or to stop Sarah Cotton from having [the girls], it is very clear that the motivation for all his actions on Dec. 25, 2017 stemmed in part from the animosity towards Sarah Cotton,” said Gropper.

Berry paid little attention to the judge as she spoke during the second half of Monday’s proceedings, keeping his head down to write on the paper in front of him.

The hearing is expected to last four days, with victim impact statements starting on Tuesday.

READ MORE: About this case



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for the Kootenays on Friday. File photo
Environment Canada issues snow warning for Friday

Two-to-10 centimetres is expected to fall

Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Homeowner intends to dispute COVID tickets after backyard party near Grand Forks

Brody Peterson said bands that played at his home shut down before the 11 o’clock cut off

Dave Bachmier said he was “devastated” to find his departed wife’s bench upturned and broken in the wake of road maintenance outside his rural property. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
YRB apologizes after sub-contractor breaks memorial bench on Danshin Village Rd.

Bench was a favourite spot of property-owner’s departed wife

From the left, Retired Fire Chief Dale Heriot (formerly of Grand Forks Fire/Rescue) and Fire Chief Walt Osellame (Midway Fire/Rescue) were given the FCAB’s Meritorious Achievement Award Monday, Oct. 19. File photo
Boundary Fire Chiefs given top honour for fire service

Fire Chiefs Heriot and Osellame were recognized by the Fire Chiefs Association of B.C. Monday, Oct. 19

Join the discussion with Boundary Similkameen candidates. (Photo submitted)
Boundary Similkameen candidates to debate health care tonight

Everyone is welcome to join the online event

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Jack Vellutini, 100, is still making sweet music. Photo: Submitted
Music stirs memories as Trail serenader nears 101st birthday

Jack Vellutini gave his brass instruments to Trail up-and-comers so the legacy of music can live on

Most Read