Crown cross-examines Vancouver Island man accused of killing young daughters
Andrew Berry's testimony about being stabbed in his home by an unknown assailant the day his two young daughters died came under attack in a Vancouver courtroom as the Crown's cross-examination began.
Berry is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of his little girls, four-year-old Aubrey and six-year-old Chloe. Their bodies were found in his Victoria apartment on Christmas Day 2017. Both had been stabbed multiple times and Chloe had suffered blunt force trauma to the head. Berry has pleaded not guilty.
- Read a more detailed account of what Berry says happened that day in Thursday's coverage
- On Wednesday, Berry was asked directly if he killed his daughters
- The girls' mother testified in court earlier this summer
At one point, prosecutor Patrick Weir asked Berry: “You’re not holding anything back, right?” Berry replied: “No.”
Weir asked Berry about his testimony he had been out sledding with the girls for most of Christmas Day, before finally returning home in the afternoon and being attacked and losing consciousness in his bedroom. The Crown’s theory is the children were killed Christmas morning.
Berry had testified when he regained consciousness, he ended up finding Chloe dead, and then was stabbed again in his kitchen, by someone he described as having dark skin and hair, and being about his height. Berry told the jury the next thing he remembered was waking up in the bathtub.
The prosecutor asked if Berry took off his pants while he and the girls were changing out of their wet clothes from sledding. Berry replied the girls were sledding, not him. When questioned by Weir on that point, Berry testified it had been “not enough (for him) to get wet”.
Weir then asked if Berry may have done anything that would have made his attacker bleed. Berry replied he didn’t think so, and Weir asked him what he meant by that. Berry told the jury he had a memory of getting a knife in the kitchen, and “might have cut him then, but I don’t know.” Berry later clarified he remembered “trying” to get a knife. Weir responded: “So that’s a guess, then.”
Berry agreed he understood when Weir said no swabs came back indicating the presence of anyone else’s blood.
Weir also asked Berry about bloody footprints in the living room, and how he could be certain they weren’t his. Berry had previously testified he was alternately losing and regaining consciousness through this period, and told the jury he didn’t remember being in the living room.
A lot of Weir’s questions centered around Paul, the loan shark to whom Berry testified he owed $25,000, and who was eventually provided with a spare set of keys to Berry’s home. Berry testified he didn’t know much about Paul, and added they had a “business relationship”, saying: “It wasn’t a friendship. It was a transaction.” Weir asked Berry for more details about Paul: everything from his appearance, to his voice, and why Berry thought he was Chinese. Berry replied: “He just looked Chinese to me.”
When asked if Paul had a nickname, Berry said: “Paul." Berry had previously testified he had nicknames in the gambling circles he frequented, beginning with “Bell-boy," which referenced a past job at Sutton Place, and then "Almost," referring to how Berry would say he “almost made it” when borrowing money. Berry testified Paul called him "Almost." When asked if Paul had a family, Berry testified he had girlfriends, including at one point someone who worked at Cathay Pacific.
When Weir suggested Paul could be someone with information about what happened to the girls, Berry agreed, saying: “If he is the one who is responsible for this, he might want to finish the job.”
Weir asked Berry about his time in hospital, and how he felt when he was under arrest. Berry had testified he was told he was being detained under the mental health act.
Weir: “Didn’t you want to say, you’ve got it all wrong?”
Berry: “I needed a lawyer. I was under arrest and that’s just what it felt like.”
Berry told the jury no one in the hospital was talking to him or coming near him. Weir asked: “You hadn’t done anything wrong at this point, correct?” Berry responded he was being told that he had, and referred to hearing police say “he’s the guy who killed his kids” while he was lying in the bathtub.
Weir also asked about why Berry didn’t use bitcoin funds he testified he had remaining, to pay his hydro, which was ultimately cut off. Berry responded he forgot about paying the bill, and added later he rarely opened mail. Weir told him important stuff can come in the mail.
Berry: “Like what?”
Weir: “Hydro bills.”
Weir also asked about what Berry was feeding the girls as of December 21st. He replied oatmeal, instant potatoes, noodles, and soups. He told the jury they also ate out: at the movies, at Subway and at the grocery store. When Weir asked Berry about fresh food and questioned again why he didn’t use the bitcoin funds, Berry replied: “Because I needed the money.”
Before cross-examination began, Berry’s defence lawyer Kevin McCullough also read excerpts from a note written by Berry to his sister while in the hospital. One section read: “I love you. I’m sorry. I have no idea what to say. I think I understand not wanting to see me.” Berry testifies he wrote that he attempted suicide, and also about his mother and ex-partner being “bullies," writing: “It was getting worse, not better.” Berry told the jury his sister was making him ashamed, and "she thought I was guilty."
McCullough: “Did you tell your sister you were innocent?”
McCullough: “Did you ever see your sister after that?’
When asked by McCullough, Berry reiterated he did not kill his children, saying he "loved them very much."
The Crown has said Berry had animosity towards the girls' mother, with whom he shared custody. He also had animosity toward his own parents, and was in a "negative financial position," according to the Crown.
Cross-examination continues Aug. 26.
CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber is covering the case live. Follow along through tweets from court: