British Columbia

Crown asks why Andrew Berry didn't seek help finding the 'real killer' of his daughters

In the days after Andrew Berry claims he was stabbed by the unknown attacker who killed his young daughters, his older sister visited him in the hospital.

Oak Bay man claims a stranger attacked him and killed little Chloe and Aubrey on Christmas Day 2017

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)

In the days after Andrew Berry claims he was stabbed by the unknown attacker who killed his young daughters, his older sister visited him in the hospital.

Berry was having trouble talking, a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver has heard, so the siblings communicated with each other by writing on a pad of paper.

The jury has seen pages of notes that Berry and his sister wrote after the tragedy on Christmas Day 2017, but not one of those pages shows Berry professing his innocence or mentioning the dark-skinned man he claims is the real killer.

He faced intense questioning Wednesday from Crown lawyer Patrick Weir, who wanted to know why Berry didn't plead for help and understanding when his sister was at his bedside on Dec. 27.

"You didn't write down, 'We were horribly attacked in my apartment and we need to find the real killer.' You didn't write that," Weir said.

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)

To date, the court has not heard evidence suggesting who Berry first told about his version of events, or when that conversation happened. He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of Chloe, six, and Aubrey, four, who were both found dead in his Oak Bay apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 25.

Berry alleges that he was tackled and stabbed in the throat by a stranger with "dark skin and dark hair" after a day spent enjoying the snow with his daughters. He claims he was $25,000 in debt to a loan shark named Paul at the time of the homicides, and that he'd given a set of apartment keys to Paul's associates.

Berry says 'logic' can't explain his actions

During Berry's fourth day under cross-examination Wednesday, he struggled to explain why he didn't confide in his sister, an RCMP officer whose first name is protected by a publication ban. 

At times, he said it was because he thought she was speaking to him as a police officer, not a loving sister. Other times, he said he couldn't explain why he wrote what he did.

"You can try to use logic, you can try to parse these things out…. I don't know, that's what came out," Berry testified.

But Weir did not let up, returning to the issue again and again as the notes were read out for the court, giving the cross-examination the flavour of a police interrogation. 

The court heard that Berry's sister had asked him in the hospital why he had a black eye. Berry replied, in writing, that he didn't know.

"You don't write there, 'because I was viciously attacked in my home and stabbed in the throat,' " Weir pointed out.

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

Berry's sister also asked him if he'd tried to commit suicide.

"I don't remember what I did but I tried suicide," Berry wrote in reply.

Weir asked why he would say he didn't remember.

"It wouldn't have been a better answer to say, 'I do remember what I did. I was attacked by this guy in my suite who killed Chloe and Aubrey?' " the prosecutor asked.

Berry explained that he wasn't proud of the things that had happened in his life in the months leading up to the homicides, and didn't want his sister to know about his arrangement with the loan shark.

In line with his previous testimony, Berry testified that the suicide attempt he was referring to in the note to his sister actually happened in November — he has denied trying to kill himself on Dec. 25, 2017.

He explained that when his sister asked if he'd tried to kill himself, he did not assume she was asking if he'd attempted suicide on Christmas.

"I'm just answering her question literally. I'm not sure I'm thinking of what she's actually trying to say," Berry said.

He will return to the stand on Thursday for a seventh day of testimony, his fifth under cross-examination.

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.