Oak Bay father accused of murder denies he planned to kill himself on Christmas Day 2017
Published Friday, August 30, 2019 9:37AM PDT
A Crown attorney presented Thursday his version of events on Christmas Day in 2017 that led to the deaths of two young girls, suggesting to their father that he stopped opening mail, paying bills and ignored a Christmas invitation from his sister because he had decided to end his life.
Patrick Weir suggested to Andrew Berry that he had no money, no prospects, was in debt, had a gambling problem and he knew the girls were about to be taken away from him.
“I suggest, in your world, in your mind by the end of Dec. 24, life had become hopeless and unbearable for you and you decided to take your own life,” Weir told Berry's jury trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Berry was sharing custody of his daughters with his former wife, Sarah Cotton.
“You chose Dec. 25 as the date for your suicide because that would be the largest psychological blow you could deliver to Sarah or your parents and one that they would have to remember every single year,” said Weir.
The father rejected Weir's suggested version of events during the fifth day of his cross-examination by the Crown.
Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of six-year-old Chloe Berry and four-year-old Aubrey Berry on Dec. 25, 2017, at his home in Oak Bay, near Victoria.
In his earlier testimony, Berry said he owed thousands of dollars to a loan shark, whose two henchmen visited his apartment several times before the murders.
He told the court he was attacked in his apartment by a dark-haired, dark-skinned man on the day his daughters were found dead.
The Crown said the evidence suggests Berry had a troubled relationship with his parents.
“You weren't planning on killing Chloe or Aubrey but in the morning something changed and you lost your temper,” Weir said.
“It was probably something along the lines of maybe Chloe waking up and saying she couldn't wait to get to her mama's and open up her presents and see her grandparents.”
At that point, Weir suggested Berry lost his temper, picked up a child's baseball bat and hit Chloe with it.
“And you knew at that point there was no going back,” he asserted, suggesting he decided to kill himself.
“You decided that you couldn't not take the girls with you. You thought, I suggest, that this would be a devastating blow to Sarah and your mom, both of whom loved the girls.”
He suggested Berry got a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Chloe, then went to Aubrey's room where she was still asleep and “did the same to her.”
Weir said: “It was your turn.”
He suggested Berry stabbed himself in the neck but the wound wasn't fatal.
Berry then felt “remorse” and spent a long period of time moving around the apartment between the girls' rooms, laying down on their beds with them hoping to die, Weir added.
He went to Aubrey's room and realized that either the police were coming or that he needed to finish the job, which is when he “repeatedly, over and over” stabbed himself in the chest, Weir suggested.
“At that point you dropped the knife, staggered into the bathroom, took off your clothes and got into the tub to die.”
Each time Weir asked Berry whether he agreed with what he was suggesting, the father replied either “No” or “I disagree.”