*Warning: This story contains disturbing content about suicide and violence.
The Victoria father charged with the double murder of his two young daughters took the stand for the second time on Thursday, giving his account of the events that occurred in his Oak Bay apartment on Dec. 25, 2017.
Andrew Berry, 45, is accused of murdering six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey – both found dead in his apartment on Christmas Day, 2017. He is the defense team’s first witness following months of Crown evidence and witnesses in the Vancouver Law Courts.
Under questions from defense lawyer Kevin McCullough, Berry described a snowy Christmas Eve with his daughters. He said on Dec. 24 they played in the snow with floaties and he kept them up until midnight, hoping that would keep them from waking up the next morning while it was still dark out – unable to pay his bills, Berry’s hydro had been turned off.
He testified that the next morning they received their Christmas gifts – unwrapped pencil crayons, pencil cases and little back packs – and had bowls of oatmeal for breakfast. Berry said they then went out to play in the snow again, taking the floaties to a golf course hill nearby. He claims they returned briefly at noon before heading straight out for more play time. He claims they had returned for lunch but that the girls weren’t hungry and didn’t eat anything before leaving again.
Berry said they returned again to the apartment roughly around 3:30 p.m.
“On the trip back home, how were the girls?” McCullough asked.
“They were good. Happy. They didn’t want to go back.” Berry’s face constricted, red with emotion.
He described getting back to his apartment, putting the girls’ snow toys in the hallway and taking off their wet clothes. The girls, wearing their pajamas went into the unit.
Berry said he entered his bedroom was tackled onto the bed before his throat was stabbed. He said he experienced “searing pain” through his body and described being confused when he came to.
“I just don’t know what to think,” he said. “I don’t know what’s happening.”
Berry told the courtroom that he then moved toward Chloe’s bedroom, where he fell down and lost consciousness in the doorway.
“When I wake up, I crawl over to Chloe’s bed and prop myself up onto my knees and I reach out and touch Chloe and she’s dead, and there’s blood everywhere,” he said between sobs. “There’s just blood everywhere.”
He said he checked his room for Aubrey and didn’t see her. He testified that he then moved to the kitchen where he grabbed a knife, was thrown to the ground and was stabbed when he tried to get back up.
He described his attacker as a man around his height with dark skin and dark hair. Berry said his attacker was not one of the men he knew to be associated with the loan shark he owed thousands of dollars to.
“The next memory I have is of waking up in the bathtub and the sounds of police over me,” he said, claiming there was a flashlight shining down on him and a gun pointed at his head. Berry said he heard voices saying: “This is the guy who killed his kids, this is the guy who killed his kids.”
Berry told the jury that his next memory was waking up in the hospital with tubes down his throat, handcuffed to the hospital bed, unaware of what day or time it was.
“How were you feeling at that point?” McCullough asked.
“What about your mental state?”
“Not good. Just not good.”
Berry said the doctor told him he had to stay in the hospital, as mandated by the Mental Health Act.
“A doctor came into the room and explained that I was a risk of harming other people and myself and I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital,” he told the court. “I wanted to die. There was nothing left. The girls were dead and I was chained to a bed. I just wanted to die.”
Asked about the hospital staff, Berry said he felt that everyone was sure of his guilt.
“Everybody thought I killed the girls. Everybody,” he said. “There wasn’t a soul who didn’t.”
Berry’s testimony continues Friday morning.