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

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

FILE - Nathan Cullen speaks to media in Smithers, B.C., Friday, February 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More calls come in for Cullen’s removal as NDP candidate

Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs demand Cullen’s removal. Ellis says, There’s no place in B.C. for racism

Martin Holzbauer, independent, Nicole Halbauer, BC NDP, and Ellis Ross, BC Liberal Party, are the candidates for the Skeena riding in the upcoming provincial election. (Terrace Standard/BC NDP)
Skeena candidates talk northwest education

Online learning access and early childhood education were common themes

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

David Block, director of development services for the City of Terrace, explains City staff’s new approach to bylaw and official community plan amendments associated with the proposed inland port development. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)
City of Terrace changes approach to inland port development process

Keith Estates Neighbourhood Concept Plan to be dealt with separately

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

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

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Adhering to local health authorities, Trudeau urges Canadians to do their part in following those guidelines

Most Read