British Columbia

'You weren't planning on killing Chloe or Aubrey': Crown wraps cross-examination of Andrew Berry

Andrew Berry has been confronted with a detailed outline of how and why he allegedly killed his two little girls, but he's sticking to his story that someone else was responsible.

Oak Bay man once again denies killing his daughters and then attempting suicide 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)

Andrew Berry has been confronted with a detailed outline of how and why he allegedly killed his two little girls, but he's sticking to his story that someone else was responsible.

Crown counsel wrapped up cross-examination of the Oak Bay man in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday, Berry's seventh day on the stand.

Berry has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Christmas 2017 stabbing deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey. He claims a stranger with "dark skin and dark hair" entered his apartment, stabbed him in the throat and chest and killed the girls.

As prosecutor Patrick Weir wrapped his cross-examination of Berry on Thursday, he laid out the Crown's version of what happened. He suggested Berry's life "had become hopeless and unbearable" at the time the girls were killed

"You chose Dec. 25 as the date to commit suicide, because that would be the largest psychological blow to your parents and [the girls' mother] Sarah Cotton," Weir charged.

"You weren't planning on killing Chloe or Aubrey but on the morning of Dec. 25, something happened and you lost your temper."

Berry disagreed with those suggestions. 

Andrew Berry claims a man with 'dark skin and dark hair' attacked him and his daughters on Christmas Day 2017 in Oak Bay, B.C., a Victoria suburb. (Jane Wolsak)

He also disagreed with Weir's allegations that he'd become frustrated with Chloe and then struck her with a baseball bat, which was when he "knew there was no going back." He disagreed that he then stabbed Chloe and Aubrey until they were dead before trying to kill himself.

Berry has maintained that at the time of the homicides, he owed a $25,000 gambling debt to a loan shark named Paul. He says that he'd known Paul for 20 years but didn't know his last name or where he lives — only that he was tall, Chinese and in his 50s.

Berry has told the jury that he had agreed to store a package for Paul, and gave a set of spare apartment keys to two of Paul's associates. He says the man who stabbed him and his daughters was not Paul or the two associates he'd met.

'You have no idea how that blood got there?'

The Crown spent five days cross-examining Berry on his evidence, attempting to demonstrate inconsistencies in his story. One key question has been why Berry didn't tell anyone that someone else was responsible in the days after the girls were killed — it's not clear when or to whom he first gave his version of events.

Earlier in Thursday's proceedings, Weir took Berry on a virtual walk through the crime scene, showing him photo after photo of the bloodstains left inside of every room of his apartment. At times, Berry was unable to explain why his blood was found where it was found.

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

Berry has told the court that he was ambushed from behind while he was in his bedroom, stabbed in the throat and knocked out at the foot of the bed. He testified that he did not touch the pillows at the other end of the bed.

But as Weir pointed out, Berry's DNA matched bloodstains on a pillow and behind the headboard of the bed. 

"I don't recall you saying you were anywhere in the vicinity of that pillow," Weir pointed out. "You have no idea how that blood got there?"

Berry said he didn't know.

The Crown alleges that Berry lay back on the pillow after killing his daughters and stabbed himself in the throat.

Berry interrogated about his stab wounds

Weir also questioned Berry about his injuries. Berry was asked if he'd been stabbed anywhere that he wouldn't be able to physically reach if he'd been the one holding the knife. 

After some back and forth, Berry agreed that the only stab wounds on his body were in places he could reach himself.

Weir showed the jury photographs taken of Berry's body after the girls were killed. 

"Were you able to see any of what might be called defensive wounds?" he asked Berry.

Berry said he wasn't sure. One photo showed some light scratches on one wrist, but Berry said he couldn't remember where they'd come from.

Berry's trial continues on Friday, when the defence is expected to present more evidence.

About the Author

Bethany Lindsay

Journalist

Bethany Lindsay has more than a decade of experience in B.C. journalism, with a focus on the courts, health and social justice issues. She has also reported on human rights and crimes against humanity in Cambodia. Questions or news tips? Get in touch at bethany.lindsay@cbc.ca or on Twitter through @bethanylindsay.