Note: This story contains details some readers may find disturbing
Wednesday was the second day of the trial of the Oak Bay dad accused of killing his two daughters and the Oak Bay police officer who discovered the two girls testified.
The testimony hinged around what the officer did and didn’t do after opening the door to Andrew Berry’s apartment on Christmas Day in 2017.
Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of his daughters Chloe Berry, 6, and Aubrey Berry, 4. His trial began Tuesday at the BC Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Oak Bay Police Const. Piotr Ulanowski says he’s never seen anything like it. He said when he opened the door to Andrew Berry’s apartment there was blood all over the floors and walls. And he could see a little girl’s body. He closed the door, stepped away and call for back-up, leaving the apartment unattended for a few minutes.
Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough repeatedly grilled Ulanowski on that decision, asking the former RCMP officer if his RCMP training taught him to see blood, an injured child and close the door and leave the scene unguarded.
Berry sat in court expressionless — almost uninterested at times — as his lawyer hammered the constable, also questioning why, when his sergeant asked if crime scene techs were needed, he didn’t say yes. The former RCMP admits he might have been in shock. He told court:
“I saw a dead kid in there. How was I supposed to act? I see a dead girl on the bed. How am I going to process that? I’m not a robot.”
The body was four-year-old Aubrey Berry. Her six-year-old sister Chloe was found in a different room. Their mother, Sarah Cotton, was at the police station and Const. Ulanowski says he was worried she would hear him say that over the police radio so he told his boss to come right away.
The jury was also shown a very graphic photo of Andrew Berry before he was taken to hospital. He has stab wounds to the left side of his chest, a black eye swollen shut and a puncture in his neck.
The prosecution objected when he defence tried to ask the officer about David Milgaard case — the Manitoba man was wrongly convicted of murder in 1970 and spent 23 years in prison. The jury was taken out at that point. Court was adjourned early and arguments will continue Thursday morning.
The defence is also taking issue with a media release Oak Bay police issued about two hours after the girls were found stabbed to death.
It said: “Foul play is suspected, however, there is no reason to believe that the public is at risk.”
Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties also did an interview that night along those lines. The defence asked Ulanowski how many murder investigations usually wrap up in two hours. The constable said none.