British Columbia

Oak Bay father told first responders 'just kill me,' firefighter testifies at murder trial

Andrew Berry is on trial for two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his young daughters.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content

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

An Oak Bay father told first responders "just kill me" when they arrived at his apartment on Christmas Day of 2017, a B.C. Supreme Court jury heard Tuesday.

Andrew Berry, 45, is on trial for second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his daughters. Chloe Berry, 6, and Audrey Berry, 4, were found dead in their bedrooms at his apartment.

Berry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Court earlier heard how police went to Berry's apartment late in the afternoon of Christmas Day after the mother of the girls reported they had not been returned to her as per a custody agreement.

The first police officer to enter the apartment has testified to finding a chaotic scene inside, with clothes and debris on the floor and blood on the walls.

Testimony entered at trial indicated the children were found dead in their bedrooms with multiple stab wounds. Andrew Berry was found in the bathtub suffering from a swollen eye and wounds to his chest and neck.

On Tuesday, the jury heard testimony from an Oak Bay firefighter who responded to the apartment with his crew to provide medical assistance.

Bradley Trenholm testified that they received a cell phone call from Saanich fire dispatch while they were in their truck explaining they could expect to find two dead children and a man suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

Under cross examination, he said he did not know where the information about the nature of Berry's wounds came from and he did not ask.

Trenholm said he was worried about the effect the scene could have on some of his crew members who had children of their own, so when they arrived at the apartment, he decided to enter alone to assess the man's injuries.

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)

He said a police constable who was leaving the apartment looked distraught. "You are too late. You are too late," Tremholm testified she said. Another officer told him there were two dead children in the apartment and he should not look in the bedrooms.

The court has heard Berry was behind on his Hydro payments and the power had been shut off. A police constable lit the way to the unit's bathroom with his flashlight, Trenholm testified.

Berry was lying in the tub and did not respond to any attempts at communication, Trenholm said, but then opened one eye and turned his head slightly.

As the assessment of his injuries continued, Trenholm said he believed he heard Berry say "kill me, or just kill me" or words to that effect.

Berry said the same words again a few minutes later after another firefighter was brought into the bathroom to assist with removing Berry from the tub, Trenholm said.

Under cross-examination, Trenholm did admit that his memory of some aspects of that night is foggy, and there were events, particularly after he left the scene, that he could not recall at all.

He chalked up the lack of memory to both the trauma of the call and the 16 months that have passed.

"Certain things stick with me, and there are certain things I can't recall," he said.

Trenholm described the scene at Berry's apartment as one of the most traumatic he has seen in his 20-year career.

The Crown has told the jury it plans to show Berry killed his daughters and tried to take his own life. The defence has not yet had the opportunity to present its case.

The trial in a Vancouver courtroom with a video link in Victoria is expected to last up to four months.

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