Oak Bay man accused of killing two daughters says he was attacked and girls killed

Oak Bay man accused of killing two daughters says he was attacked and girls killed
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Watch Andrew Berry, the Oak bay father accused of killing his two young daughters on Christmas Day 2017, took the stand for the second day

Warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers. Discretion is advised.

An Oak Bay man standing trial for the murder of his two young daughters was back on the stand Thursday.

Andrew 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 Berry’s Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day of 2017.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On Wednesday, the defence began arguing its case refuting the prosecution’s claim that Berry had killed his daughters then tried to commit suicide.

As Berry took the stand as the first witness for the defence, 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 also testified he owed loan sharks thousands of dollars. His lawyer has instead suggested Berry was attacked by a loan shark to whom Berry owed money.

On Thursday, Berry testified he attempted to kill himself in November 2017. He also said the suicide note that police found at the scene was a month old. The note listed grievances Berry had with the children’s mother that said he wished to escape with the girls.

Berry said in December 2017, he planned to go to Vancouver to try and negotiate an extension for his gambling debt but he had to pick up the girls from school that day.

Berry told the jury that by Dec. 21, the birthday of the daughters’ mother Sarah Cotton, his power had been out for two weeks. He said he offered Cotton to have the girls overnight on her birthday to be nice. He was asked if he just didn’t want Cotton finding out his power was out and he said no. Berry said Cotton knew as the girls were always talking about it, they were camping at my house it was unavoidable at pick-ups and drop-offs.”

When asked about an email Cotton sent him asking if his hydro was off and expressing concerns about it, Berry replied “It was unusual because she knew for a long time before that email was sent to me, telling the jury “she was up to something fishy.”

Berry told court on Dec. 24, he and the two girls had a good day, going swimming and playing with toboggans in the snow until late that night. He told the jury the toboggans were supposed to be their Christmas presents but they took them out early because it snowed.

Berry testified he didn’t mind that they stayed out late because ” the idea was to keep them up later than usual so when Christmas morning came around they wouldn’t wake up when it was dark because we didn’t have power” he told the jury. He said they went to bed at around midnight.

On Christmas day Berry testified the Aubrey and Chloe woke up between 7 a.m. and 8  a.m. that morning and went straight to the living room and opened up their presents. Berry said had oatmeal for breakfast and went out to play in the snow again.

Berry was asked if they were screaming and yelling or making noise that morning and he testified “they wouldn’t yell and scream they were conditioned not to do that” He said the loudest thing they would do was lift up the blinds and drop them if they were looking out the window.

Berry told the jury there were no unusual noises that morning from his apartment. He said they went to the golf course about one kilometre away from his Beach Drive apartment to play in the snow and were there for about an hour or “a little more than an hour.”

He testified they started to go back home after an hour of playing but the girls didn’t want to stop. He said they made it home around noon for lunch.

Berry told the jury the girls did not want to eat lunch.

When asked why he didn’t take them to Sarah’s by noon like he was supposed to he replied “they were so keen to keep tobogganing and I knew if I took them to Sarah’s they wouldn’t have a chance to play in the snow.”

“I knew I would be in trouble with Sarah but I thought if I got them back in time for her Christmas dinner it would be okay,” Berry told the jury. He was asked if the girls knew when they had to be back and Berry said no. “They were having fun they didn’t want to go,” Berry said.

Berry said they got back from playing in the snow around 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and when he went to his bedroom, he was attacked.

Follow Luisa Alvarez on Twitter for updates

With files from The Canadian Press

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