British Columbia

B.C. man accused of murdering daughters can't explain shallow stab marks found on his body

Photos of the knife wounds on Andrew Berry’s chest and throat were shown to a B.C. Supreme Court jury on Tuesday as the Crown tried to poke holes in Berry's claims of innocence in his daughters’ deaths.

Andrew Berry claims a stranger attacked him and killed little Chloe and Aubrey on Christmas Day 2017

The bodies of six-year-old Chloe Berry, left, and her four-year-old sister, Aubrey, were found in their father's Oak Bay, B.C., apartment on Christmas Day 2017. (Submitted)

Photos of the knife wounds on Andrew Berry's chest and throat were shown to a B.C. Supreme Court jury on Tuesday as the Crown tried to poke holes in his claims of innocence in his daughters' deaths.

Berry is on trial for second-degree murder in the Christmas Day 2017 stabbings of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey. He has pleaded not guilty, alleging that an unknown attacker with "dark skin and dark hair" attacked him and his daughters inside his apartment.

The Crown is attempting to prove that Berry killed the little girls on the morning of Dec. 25 before trying to kill himself. First responders on the scene discovered Berry in the bathtub, naked and seriously injured.

The source of Berry's injuries was the topic of much discussion during the accused man's fifth day on the stand Tuesday.

Berry has alleged that he was stabbed in two separate attacks on the day of the homicides. He claims he was stabbed in the throat while he was in his bedroom and then in the chest while he was in the kitchen.

But Crown counsel Patrick Weir had some questions about the details of those attacks.

Berry claimed that he was stabbed just once in the throat, but an emergency doctor has testified that there were also a number of horizontal slashes on Berry's throat, and photos taken in the hospital show several small nicks on top of that.

"I'm going to suggest to you that those little nicks are what are called hesitation marks, made by someone who is building up the courage to kill himself," Weir said.

Berry said he couldn't explain either the slashes or nicks on his throat.

Andrew Berry testified for a fifth day on Tuesday. He is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of his daughters. (Jane Wolsak)

During the second attack in the kitchen, Berry testified that he remembers being stabbed just once in the chest. A doctor has testified that there were 16 stab wounds on Berry's chest, none of them life-threatening or more than 2.5 centimetres deep.

The court was shown photos of those wounds, all tightly packed in the area above Berry's left nipple and all apparently oriented in the same direction. Berry has testified that he is right handed.

Berry told the jury that he must have passed out while he was being stabbed and was unconscious when the final 15 wounds were inflicted.

No 'vivid memory' of Christmas Eve

As on previous days during cross-examination, the Crown spent much of Tuesday's proceedings trying to find inconsistencies in Berry's story and coaxing him to be more specific with his testimony.

Just as the day's proceedings were kicking off, Berry told the court that he does not have a "vivid memory" of how he spent Christmas Eve with the girls.

Under intense questioning by Weir, Berry said at one point: "You're trying to parse this out in a level of detail that I just cannot remember."

Berry has claimed that he and his daughters went swimming mid-afternoon on Dec. 24, but Weir showed the court a schedule from the Oak Bay Recreation Centre that suggested the pool closed at 1:30 p.m. that day.

In response, Berry at first said that he must have been mistaken, and that he and the girls might have gone swimming on Dec. 23 instead. Later, he said he was sure it was Dec. 24 — but staff at the rec centre must have let people stay in the pool after 1:30 p.m.

He also changed his story slightly on how he'd spent Christmas Day with the girls. 

First responders located Chloe and Aubrey's bodies in separate bedrooms. (CHEK News)

Berry has testified repeatedly that he walked with the girls back and forth along Hampshire Road to the Victoria Golf Club to go sledding in the snow in the hours before the stabbings.

On Tuesday, he admitted that's impossible because Hampshire Road doesn't lead to the golf course. Berry said he'd made a mistake.

In response to questions about his movements in those last two days of the girls' lives, Berry often prefaced his answers with "I would have" rather than directly stating what he had done.

Weir repeatedly asked him whether he was testifying to his recollections about those days or making assumptions about what happened.

"Are you just making stuff up as you go along here?" Weir asked at one point.

Berry denied that.

Cross-examination continues Wednesday morning.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay is an experienced B.C. journalist with a focus on the courts, health, science and social justice issues. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.