British Columbia

Emotional testimony heard during 2nd week of trial for B.C father accused of killing his 2 children

The second week of Andrew Berry's murder trial heard testimony from two police officers who were the first to arrive at Berry's apartment on Christmas Day 2017.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content

Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. (Jane Wolsak )

The second week of Andrew Berry's murder trial heard testimony from two police officers who were the first to arrive at Berry's apartment on Christmas Day 2017. 

Berry is charged with the second degree murders of his two daughters.

Six-year-old Chloe Berry and four-year-old Aubrey Berry were found dead in their father's Oak Bay apartment on Dec. 25, 2017. Berry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During the cross examination of Const. Piotr Ulanowski, defence lawyer Kevin McCullough focused on issues of the officer's credibility and how he handled the crime scene.

McCullough repeated questions about Ulanowski's decision to leave the door of Berry's apartment unattended to let a senior officer into the building. He also asked why Ulanowski left that fact out of his notes.

"I wasn't trying to hide anything. I wrote a report of my recollection," said Ulanowski, adding he wrote it hours after the events.  

Andrew Berry, centre, appears in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. (Felicity Don/Canadian Press)

On Thursday, Oak Bay Police Sgt Michael Martin gave emotional testimony about discovering the bodies of the two young girls in their bedrooms.

He arrived at the apartment after Ulanowski discovered blood on the walls and a child's body on a bed and called for assistance.

Martin said he instructed Ulanowski to stay in the bathroom where Andrew Berry was found naked in the bathtub with lacerations to his chest and neck.

Martin went into the living room of the apartment and when he didn't find anyone there or in the kitchen, he entered the first bedroom where he found Chloe Berry on her bed. He said there was blood around her upper body and he was unable to find her pulse.

He went into a second bedroom where he found Aubrey Berry on her bed in a similar state. He could not find the younger girl's pulse and said both children were cool to the touch and their bodies were stiff.

Martin testified that he radioed for an ambulance and reported the condition of the two girls to police dispatch. He said his priority from that point was to secure the scene and prevent any contamination.

He told court that instead of searching for suspects, he wanted to maintain the integrity of the crime scene so investigators could do their work.

Fighting back tears in the courtroom, Martin said when backup officers began to arrive, he had misgivings about sending in another officer to confirm that the children were dead.

"Sometimes, you see things and you can't unsee them," he explained.

Members of a B.C. Supreme Court jury listen to testimony describing how police found Andrew Berry's two girls dead in their bedrooms, as well as details of their autopsies. (Jane Wolsak)

Martin says he told Ulanowski to ride with Berry in the ambulance to the hospital to ensure there was a witness, in case anything happened to Berry on the way to the hospital.

It was also to ensure that if Berry made a dying declaration, it would be recorded, or Ulanowski could take any information Berry might have that would help police determine what happened in the apartment.

During a combative cross examination Friday morning, McCullough repeatedly asked Martin how the two officers got into the apartment and whether the door to the unit was locked.

Martin said he did not have a clear memory of the details but believed the door was open an inch or two when he followed Ulanowski to the suite.

The trial continues next week and is expected to last for four months.