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

Chilliwack trustee removed from committees, district invites

Barry Neufeld’s censure involves four forms of reprimand due to recent Facebook post

Chilliwack RCMP support Special Olympics athletes

This year’s torch run aiming to raise $30,000 for B.C.’s athletes

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

FVRD activates its emergency operations centre to monitor Fraser River levels

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Body of Maple Ridge man recovered near Harrison Lake

21-year-old last seen on May 16 when he fell into Silver Creek

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Death toll rises in COVID-19 outbreak at Langley Lodge

Number has risen to 22, making it the worst to date in B.C.

Fraser Valley libraries to offer contactless hold pick-ups

FVRL Express — Click, Pick, Go service to be offered at all 25 locations starting June 1

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Most Read