Crown disputes attack described by B.C. man on trial for killing daughters
WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers
The Vancouver Island man on trial for allegedly killing his two daughters was challenged on his version of events during his third day of testimony Friday.
Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, whose bodies were found on Christmas Day 2017 in Berry’s Oak Bay apartment.
Crown’s theory is that Berry killed his daughters and tried to commit suicide because he was depressed over his extreme debt and inability to pay rent, which threatened his custody arrangement.
Berry spent his first two days of testimony this week laying out how he had amassed a $25,000 gambling debt he owed to a loan shark named “Paul,” which he had difficulty paying.
That debt led to an attack by a stranger at Berry’s apartment, he told the court Thursday, where he was stabbed in the bedroom. His daughters were also killed in the attack, he had said.
On Friday, Crown prosecutor Patrick Weir pointed out the DNA results taken from the bloody crime scene, which only matched Berry, Aubrey and Chloe. The blood or DNA of a fourth person was not found.
When asked about bloody footprints in the living room of the apartment, Berry said they weren’t his because he “didn’t make it past the kitchen” where he claims he was stabbed a second time.
That prompted Weir to challenge Berry, who had previously testified his next memory after the attack in the kitchen was waking up in the bathtub, surrounded by police.
Weir also asked how Berry knew he was under arrest when he woke up in hospital, where Berry had testified he was handcuffed to the bed.
“Did anyone say to you, ‘You are under arrest for two counts of murder?’” Weir asked.
“No,” Berry responded. “But they said I was not allowed to leave the hospital. It was clear.” He added security guards were stationed outside his hospital room.
Weir asked Berry why he didn’t tell anyone at the hospital that he didn’t kill his daughters.
“I needed a lawyer,” Berry replied.
Who was ‘Paul’?
Berry was also challenged about his memories and descriptions of the loan shark known as “Paul,” who Berry has only described as tall and Chinese.
Weir got Berry to offer a few more details, including that he had known “Paul” for about 20 years and could have been of some other Asian descent.
Berry had testified his debt to “Paul” led to him handing over spare keys to his apartment and allowing two bags to be stored there, which Berry suspected were filled with drugs.
Berry told Weir he feared “Paul,” even asking to be put in protective custody after his arrest because he was afraid of further attacks.
When Weir asked Berry why “Paul” wasn’t mentioned to his sister, who had visited him in hospital, or to anyone else, Berry said he didn’t because “everyone including [my sister] thought I did it.”
Crime scene pictures shown
Also on Friday, the court was shown photos taken by police at the crime scene, which Berry was asked to describe.
The photos were met with tears and gasps from members of the family in the courtroom, many of whom turned away in tears.
Berry also broke down in tears as he viewed photos of his chaotic and bloodstained apartment, unable to speak at times.
The photos also showed Berry’s nearly empty pantry and fridge, along with a stack of unopened envelopes.
Before Crown began its cross-examination, defence noted a suicide note was also found at the scene, which Berry had earlier testified was from a suicide attempt a month before the murders.
When asked if he tried to commit suicide on Christmas Day, Berry said, “No, it’s all wrong.”
Asked a final time by defence if Berry killed his daughters, he replied, “No, I did not. I love them very much.”
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