Oak Bay man accused of killing his daughters takes stand at his murder trial

Oak Bay man accused of killing his daughters takes stand at his murder trial
Watch A surprising turn in the murder trial for the Oak Bay father accused of killing his young daughters on Christmas Day 2017.

An Oak Bay man accused of killing his two young daughters is testifying in his defence at his murder trial in Vancouver.

Andrew Berry took the stand as his lawyers began to present their case on Wednesday.

Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of six-year old Chloe Berry and four-year-old Aubrey Berry.

The bodies of the two girls were found in Andrew Berry’s Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day of 2017.

Berry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The first question he faced Wednesday was did he kill his daughters?  Berry’s answer “No, I did not.” It was followed by if he’d tried to commit suicide on Christmas 2017, his answer “No, I did not.”

He broke down when talking about Chloe and how outgoing she was. When asked about his relationship with his daughters, Berry told the court: “We had a very strong relationship.” He also said, “I got what I wanted,” out of the family court trial.

“I got my money from the house and 40 per cent access to the girls,” Berry said.

When asked how co-parenting was going with the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, Berry also told court “Sarah and I had communication problems. I think we communicate differently but the girls were doing great.”

Berry denied he sexually assaulted Aubrey and he believed Cotton was behind the allegation. He told the court he missed Halloween with his daughters as a result.

Berry claims he never showed anger toward Cotton, despite ongoing conflicts and communication issues. Family court documents show Berry had previously lashed out at Sarah physically resulting in a restraining order.

Berry says he was gambling regularly after he finished school in Vancouver and started taking loans from the casinos when he ran out of money. He says he started small, not borrowing too much at first.

Berry says he would lose his entire paycheque gambling and would struggle to pay rent. But he kept gambling and would cut corners and borrow money to keep going. Berry said he was spending $3,000 to $4,000 a month at casinos and $2,000 on sports bets after he separated from Cotton.

Berry claims he borrowed $10,000 from a tall, Asian man named Paul after losing $10,000 at River Rock Casino playing baccarat. Berry says he doesn’t know Paul’s last name.

Berry says Paul took a photo of his driver’s licence and business card so he’d know where to find Berry if he didn’t pay. Berry says he let Paul know address on the licence was wrong so he gave him his Beach Drive one voluntarily “to be honest.”

Berry says he told Paul a week later he couldn’t pay and claims a rock came through his window a few days later. He says Paul asked, “if he got his present”. Berry said yes and thinks Paul was confirming his address.

Court has also learned Berry is in protective custody. Berry requested to be in protective custody claiming fears for his safety.

The mother of the murdered girls was at the Victoria courthouse Wednesday along with friends and family to watch the proceedings being streams being streamed live.

Berry’s lawyer Kevin McCullough told the jury before Berry’s testimony that his client will be the first witness for the defence and that he will tell court he did not kill his daughters.

He’s also told the court that Berry had a serious gambling problem from the time he left college and was borrowing money from loan sharks and that the problem worsened after his relationship with Sarah Cotton ended.

McCullough said Berry will tell court he was attacked in his bedroom after he and the girls played in the snow on Christmas morning, and that he lost consciousness after the alleged attack and woke up to find his daughters dead.

The trial began in mid-April. The prosecution called dozens of witnesses to the stand before wrapping up its case last week.

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