WARNING: This story contains disturbing details about a double murder.
The sentencing hearing for the Oak Bay father who murdered his two young daughters on Christmas Day continues Tuesday.
The hearing kicked-off Monday in Victoria. Andrew Berry’s defence lawyer told the court Berry maintains he did not kill four-year-old Aubrey and six-year-old Chloe Berry, despite being found guilty by a jury after an almost six-month trial.
Berry did not look at any of the people who gave victim impact statements on Tuesday morning.
Berry murdered his two little girls, Chloe and Aubrey, on Christmas Day 2017.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom as Sarah Cotton, the girls’ mother, spoke first.
“This is a nightmare I can never wake up from,” she said.
Cotton spoke about how her daughters, taken from her too early, has impacted every facet of her life, including her relationships with people. Cotton’s aunt, who lives with cerebral palsy, was high functioning prior to the girls’ death but became bedridden when she learned of their murder. Chloe and Aubrey’s friends still ask about them, two years later.
“Having to face the holidays without them is devastating,” said Cotton, through tears.
Berry’s sister, whose name is protected by a publication ban, spoke next and at one point stopped to look at her brother. He did not return her gaze.
She spoke about one of her fondest childhood memories of her and Berry, playing monopoly. The games, she said, could last for days, often ending because the cat decided to sleep on the board. She wondered aloud if this was the birth of his gambling addiction.
More victim impact statements will be heard after the break, along with community impact statements.
On Monday, Berry, head tilted down, spent the morning’s proceedings writing on a yellow legal pad and only glanced at those in the gallery when his handcuffs were done back up as he exited the room.
The proceedings began with Crown laying out the aggravating factors that should be taken into account when determining a proper sentence for Berry. Crown counsel Clare Jennings called Berry’s alternate tale of owing money to a loan shark named Paul “completely fabricated” and “self-serving.”
Jennings told the courts that the jury “clearly rejected that a dark-skinned man killed” the girls, along with injuring Berry in the process. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper Gropper agreed with Crown, stating that it “defies logic” that the loan shark would kill the children and leave Berry alive.
The hearing is expected to last four days.