‘I can see he is my brother but at the same time this is not my brother:’ Sister tells the jury she doesn’t know if Berry is guilty

'I can see he is my brother but at the same time this is not my brother:' Sister tells the jury she doesn't know if Berry is guilty
WatchThe trial for the Oak bay man accused of killing his children on Christmas day in 2017 continued today in Vancouver with the jury hearing from Andrew Berry's sister for the second day

On the second day of testimony at her brother’s second-degree murder trial, the jury heard Andrew Berry’s sister found out her nieces were dead and her brother was in the hospital when two RCMP officers knocked on her door.

 “I was a mess. I described it as I’ve been hit by a tidal wave and I had been swept away. It’s just very overwhelming,” she testified. She was asked how long that feeling lasted and she responded ” that feeling lasted days, weeks, a long time.”

The court also heard firsthand accounts from Berry’s sister, whose name is under a publication ban, what she felt and what was said during visits with Berry in the hospital.

When she first went to see her brother, she testified two plain-clothes police officers informed her Berry was in surgery. She went back to the Oak Bay police station where she met her parents and gave a statement.

When asked by Crown why she gave a statement, she replied “because my nieces were dead and my brother is in the hospital why wouldn’t you?” 

When asked by the prosecution if she had concerns with how her parents were dealing with all of this she replied “yes, I thought this was going to kill them.” 

Berry’s sister later told the court she returned to the hospital when her brother had come out of surgery and describing her reaction to seeing him for the first time she testified “I don’t really know how to describe him other than with an immense amount of intensity he said ‘kill me’ and he looked at me and then he laid back down,” she testified through tears.

READ MORE: Andrew Berry’s sister takes the stand, tells jury she thought Berry was depressed but he refused to get help.

She continued “at first I was just taken aback. He’s my brother I can see he’s my brother but at the same time this is not my brother, he looked so different, he is so thin, his hair was crazy and his eyes, it was something I had never seen before.”

She continued to tell the jury she was worried he would try and kill himself and thought if he had the opportunity he would try.

“I asked if the nurse heard what I had heard and she had, so I asked it to be documented because I knew if he had a chance to grab a pen or something he would,” she told the jury.

She continued to fight back tears as she told the courtroom during that visit, she had a lot of communication with her brother but mostly through touch and looks rather than verbal.

“It was an exchange of love, I held his pinky, his pinky finger,” she testified.

The court heard about a second occasion where she went to visit her brother in the hospital. During that visit, the jury heard she was able to have both written and verbal communication with Berry.

The prosecution read out loud notes the two exchanged. One she wrote read “this will likely be the last time that you see me tell me everything you need me to know” to which Berry wrote back,

“I love you. I’m sorry. I have no idea what to say. I think I understand not wanting to see me. I don’t remember what I did but I tried suicide. I left a note on the table. I don’t know why my eye is black,” the note read.

She also testified that during that visit, Berry called himself evil like their mother. “He said he was evil like our mother and warned me to stay away from her,” she told the jury.

Crown asked her if at any point she talked to Berry about the murders and sobbing, she replied “no.” When asked why not, she replied “there comes a point in this conversation with my brother that it doesn’t seem that there was any recollection from my brother that the girls were dead.”

“I don’t know if he knows. I asked the nurse if anyone had told him the girls were dead and she said no. At this point, I remember I’m a police officer and I try and wrap my head around how I feel about this conflict and I don’t ask him anything from that point” she testified.

When Crown asked her why she thought he didn’t know Chloe and Aubrey were dead she replied “because he didn’t ask about them.”

She testified that she thought that would be the last time she visited her brother but then told the court she continued to visit him after that and he told her he was going to get arrested.

“He told me he knew he was going to get arrested he did not tell me that he had knowledge as to why, just told me he was going to be arrested,” she testified.

Crown asked her Berry’s demeanour during that conversation and she replied: “his demeanour seemed resigned maybe a little dumbfounded he wasn’t extreme in any way.”

She continued to tell the court “He told me ‘tell me what to do, tell me how high to jump and I’ll jump it’ – I told him I couldn’t be that person anymore he needed to get a lawyer and ask them those questions,” she told the jury.

During another visit with Berry, the jury heard she brought him clothes, sweatpants, a sweatshirt that didn’t have any string in them and a pair of comfortable slippers. She told the court she wrote on the inside of the sleeves. On one side she told the just she wrote ‘I love you’ and on the other ‘truth.’

When asked by the Crown why she wrote inside the cuffs of the sleeves she replied “I go back to these moments that I feel I was never going to see him again I don’t know, I don’t know it’s not for me to figure out if Andrew killed his daughters or not but I know he was there and for me when I look at him now I see a shell of a man I don’t see my brother and I want my brother back and I feel the only way…” she wasn’t allowed to finish because there was an objection.

When the jury came back, the judge told them to disregard the witnesses statement about seeing a shell of a man.

She continued “the best way to describe it was my last words of wisdom to him because I feel like moving forward there was nothing else for us I wouldn’t be able to help him. ‘I love you’ was there because I do love him, I have battled back and forth and tried not to love him throughout this because of some of my feelings but at the end of the day I do love him and that is why I wrote it. I didn’t want him to lose sight of that,” she told the jury. 

Still being questioned about why she wrote on the cuffs of the sweater she testified,

“Thinking about him in the future, I’m not thinking about the court process or anything like that I’m thinking, how does one get past losing your children in such a violent way and I don’t want to say that he is guilty or not guilty but regardless, the only way I could see how anyone could ever get past this is for him and for everyone around to face the truth about how he got there, what happened and from there try and move forward.”

Cross-examination began late in the afternoon Thursday and will continue Friday.

Andrew Berry is charged with second-degree murder in the deaths of his daughters and has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Luisa AlvarezLuisa Alvarez

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