Oak Bay father accused of murdering daughters says family was attacked by unknown man

Andrew Berry continued to give testimony in his murder trial Friday.

Berry has pleaded not guilty to killing his daughters, six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey. The girls were found dead in Berry's Beach Drive apartment on Christmas Day 2017.

The court has heard that the girls were stabbed multiple times and that Berry was discovered naked in his bathtub with serious injuries before being rushed to hospital.

Berry wrapped up his direct testimony Friday morning and the Crown has begun its cross-examination.

Berry told the court his sister visited him three times in jail after his arrest.

Berry said he told his sister, who is a police officer, that he was innocent of the crime of killing his daughters.

He said she never visited him again after he maintained he was innocent.

The accused was also questioned about photos from his apartment that were presented as exhibits. He described one bag of cauliflower which he said he and his daughters had used as eyes for a snowman he says they built on Christmas Eve.

At the conclusion of direct examination, Bery was asked whether he killed his daughters. He responded, “No, I didn’t kill them and I loved them very much. I didn’t kill them.”

When asked by his lawyer whether he tried to commit suicide on Christmas Day, Berry answered, “That is all wrong. I did not.”

Crown began its cross-examination with prosecutor Patrick Weir challenging Berry about whether there were in fact police officers present when Berry was transported from one hospital to another.

Berry claimed there was an “entourage” of police and security, but after questioning acknowledged he didn’t specifically see any police uniforms.

Cross-examination continues Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, Berry told the jury his account of the grisly violence that left his daughters dead and himself badly wounded.

Berry told the court through tears that he was attacked in the bedroom of his apartment on the afternoon of Dec. 25, 2017. He testified that he was stabbed in the throat by a man he described as his height with dark hair and dark skin. 

Berry said that after he was attacked he lost consciousness before stumbling and crawling into his daughter Chloe's room. He testified that he reached out to her on her bed and found her dead, with blood everywhere in her bedroom.

He says he then went looking for Aubrey, ending up in the kitchen where he grabbed a knife but was tackled and stabbed again. 

Berry says his next memory is waking up in his bathtub with a light in his face, a gun at his head and police officers yelling, "this is the guy who killed his kids."

He told the jury his next memory was of waking up in the hospital where he was handcuffed to a bed and was told he was a risk to himself and others.

At that point, Berry said he wanted to die. 

"There was nothing left," he told the court. "The girls were dead. I was chained to a bed. I just wanted to die." 

Berry testified that earlier that day he and his daughters had frolicked in the snow for hours, playing at the Victoria Golf Course with the toboggans the girls were given as early Christmas gifts.

He told the court that the girls were enjoying playing in the snow so much that they went to the golf course twice that day and didn’t return to his apartment the second time until 3:30 p.m., even though the girls were supposed to be dropped off at their mother's home by noon that day.

Berry testified that he knew he would get "in a bit of trouble" with their mother, but thought that as long as they were back for dinner it would be OK.

Berry's lawyer has suggested he was attacked in relation to debts Berry owed a loan shark. Berry has said he was a problem gambler and owed $25,000 to a guy named Paul.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard police found a note at the crime scene addressed to Berry's sister that detailed grievances with relatives and the girls' mother.

“Betrayed, bullied, and miscast I set out to leave with the kids,” the letter read. “But I thought it better for myself and kids to escape.”

The note contained Berry's passwords and banking information.

But Berry testified Thursday that he wrote the letter a month earlier, when he tried to kill himself but survived.

Berry has already testified that, while he and the girl's mother had a difficult relationship at times, he had a happy life with the two girls.

He described going camping with them, reading books before bedtime and taking the girls to school. Chloe was outgoing while Aubrey was shy, he said.

He choked up several times Thursday as he described the hours before the were killed.

On Christmas Eve they went swimming and sledding, he said. They then built a snowman and were out as late as midnight.

- With files from The Canadian Press

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