Photo, video evidence released by courts in Andrew Berry trial
Warning: disturbing content
In some of the images released in court Wednesday, unopened gifts can be seen underneath a Christmas tree in Andrew Berry's Victoria apartment, where his two little girls were found dead in their beds on Dec. 25, 2017.
Another picture shows a note the jury heard was written by six-year-old Chloe Berry, the child-like printing in what appears to be green felt pen. It begins: “Dear Santa. Enjoy the bunny crackers.”
Yet another photo released by the courts shows another note with drawings on it, next to an empty bowl and an unopened toothbrush, which the message also indicates is for Santa.
The photo evidence was the focus of some of the intense cross-examination Berry has faced over the last four days. He took the stand in his own defence six days ago at his second-degree murder trial, in which he has pleaded not guilty.
The Crown’s theory is Chloe and her four year-old sister Aubrey were killed Christmas morning. Berry has testified they went out sledding for most of the day, travelling by foot twice to a local golf course, a walk the jury heard took about an hour one-way. He told the court upon their return that afternoon, he was stabbed by an unknown attacker, and lost consciousness.
- Tuesday's coverage: Father charged with murder defiant on the stand
- Andrew Berry testifies he was attacked at home
- Man charged in daughters' deaths says he was not the killer
The two young siblings were found dead in their beds. A pathologist has testified the girls were both stabbed multiple times, and Chloe also suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
One photo also shows Berry with injuries. Prosecutor Patrick Weir suggested small wounds on Berry’s neck were self-inflicted, before Berry stabbed himself. Berry disagreed.
On Tuesday, Weir suggested the toothbrush left for Santa was unopened because the girls never came out of their rooms Christmas morning. Berry again disagreed.
He testified the unopened gifts were left by the front door to be taken to the home of the girl’s mother, Sarah Cotton. The children were supposed to be returned to her at noon that day, but Berry has told the jury they were excited to continue sledding with the new snow toys he had gotten them. One of the pictures released by the courts shows snow toys in the hallway outside Berry’s door.
The court also released a short surveillance video segment, showing Berry and the girls at a rec centre on Christmas Eve.
A lot of Wednesday’s cross examination also focussed on a note Berry wrote to his sister while in hospital. It reads in part: “I love you. I’m sorry. I have no idea what to say. I think I understand not wanting to see me.”
Weir: “What are you sorry for, Mr. Berry?”
Berry: “For her wanting to leave.”
Weir asked why Berry didn’t write: “help me, everybody thinks I’ve killed my kids.” He also asked Berry why he let his sister know about a note on his table at home which he testified he had written before a November suicide attempt. Berry responded his sister had asked him a question related to suicide. The Crown has previously suggested Berry did not try to kill himself prior to Dec. 25, 2017. Berry disagreed with that suggestion.
Berry agreed with the Crown that he didn’t write to his sister about being attacked, and also didn’t ask for help. When Weir asked what Berry was hiding from her at that point, he replied “bag of drugs, gambling debts”, referring to his testimony about storing bags for a loan shark named Paul, to whom he said he owed $25,000. Weir has previously suggested Paul does not exist. Berry rejected that suggestion.
Weir asked Berry about his time in hospital, and how he had testified he felt like he was being treated like he had killed two little girls. Berry told the jury: “It means there was nobody around me. Absolute desolation.” He testified nobody was interested in giving him condolences, and instead people were glaring at him and leaving him alone. When Weir asked if anyone at the hospital said anything about believing he killed two little girls, Berry responded: “No. They didn’t say they didn’t think it, either … it was obvious.”
Cross examination is set to continue on Thursday.