Sisters four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Sisters four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Court hears paramedic feared for safety of first responders at Oak Bay murder scene

BC Ambulance paramedic told everyone to ‘get out’ after hearing the word ‘kill’ from the bathroom

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and graphic content.

Paramedic Hayley Blackmore testified Tuesday that she was concerned for her safety and others, and told first responders to “get out” of Oak Bay father Andrew Berry’s apartment after she heard the word ‘kill’ uttered in a deadpan voice.

Blackmore, a BC Ambulance advanced care paramedic who attended the call with partner Connor Ridout, took the stand at the beginning of the week in the trial for Berry, 45, who is charged with second degree murder in the deaths of his daughters four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry, both discovered in his Beach Drive apartment on Christmas Day 2017. Berry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

READ ALSO: Trial begins for Oak Bay father charged in Christmas Day deaths of two daughters

On that evening, Blackmore was cooking Christmas dinner for other paramedics on shift. She said her Yorkshire puddings were just about finished when a supervisor told them a call had come in that sounded “unpleasant.”

Shortly after, pagers started beeping in the room.

Blackmore appeared calm as she sat on the stand in the Vancouver Law Courts courtroom.

She occasionally pushed her long, straight brown hair from one side of her neck to the other as she described how she and her partner Connor Ridout drove to Beach Drive around 6 p.m. with the knowledge that two children were seriously injured in the apartment.

When they arrived, the two paramedics decided Ridout would check on the patient in the bathtub and Blackmore would be going into the bedrooms.

Blackmore described the apartment unit as quiet, dark and “quite messy and disheveled” with objects all over the floor and blood visible on the walls. She entered the first bedroom across from the front entrance and saw a child on the bed, facing away from the door, with tangled, bloody hair.

A police officer held a flashlight in the room – the single source of light – as Blackmore checked the girl’s pulse and determined she was dead. Touching her neck, Blackmore said the child was stiff and cold, and her whole body rocked when Blackmore touched her shoulder.

Blackmore was only in the room for about two minutes before she went into the other bedroom and checked the pulse of the second child, also laying on the bed with a mess of bloody, tangled, blonde hair. The second child was also stiff and cold, she testified.

“I reached the determination that they were both deceased so we did not attempt any life-saving measures because they would have been futile,” Blackmore testified.

After consulting with Ridout, who had been tending to Berry in the unit’s bathroom, the paramedics decided to remove Berry from the unit.

“The plan was to bring him out into the hallway so we could treat him,” she said. “You can’t treat someone in a bathroom, because there’s no way to get in there.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay Sgt. struggles through emotional testimony in double murder trial

But shortly after, Blackmore said she heard a male voice say the word, “kill” in a deadpan voice. Concerned for her and the other first responders’ safety, she described using a “stern” and “authoritative” voice to ask everyone to get out of the unit.

“I just all the sudden was worried about the other paramedics and everyone’s safety,” she said, testifying that although she hadn’t heard any mention of a weapon, she knew from the injuries on the girls that there had been a weapon in the apartment at some point in time.

She said she sent someone to get restraints, because she had heard the word “kill” from the bathroom and “didn’t get a context for it.”

“I wasn’t sure if he said, ‘kill me’ or ‘I’m going to kill you’…” she said. “I just wasn’t sure. And I was, again, concerned for our safety so I was trying to think ahead. I thought he may need to be restrained, so I sent somebody to get restraints so we would have them handy in case we needed them.”

The restraints were never used, said Blackmore.

Crown prosecutor Claire Jennings asked how Blackmore felt at the time she left the apartment.

She paused, then said she felt “sick and overwhelmed.”

Berry was removed from the unit shortly after. Blackmore said he was shirtless, cool to the touch, had a black eye, a lateral laceration to his neck and multiple wounds on the left side of his chest.

She said his wounds didn’t appear to be “actively or profusely” bleeding.

Co-defence counsel Ben Lynskey asked Blackmore if she and Ridout had discussions about the incident after it ended.

Blackmore said yes, they had, but mostly in regards to their “feelings.”

“Me and [Ridout] have had conversations about it, but they mostly have been pertaining to our feelings, how we’re feeling about it,” she said. “Because we’re friends and we’re supportive.

“We had two very different experiences…once we got there we didn’t spend very much time together on that call.”

Lynskey wasn’t satisfied – asking Blackmore if she was trying to mislead the jury to believe the two never discussed the incident.

“I was trying to give the impression that we didn’t talk about specifics,” she said.

READ ALSO: Juror dismissed from Andrew Berry double murder trial



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sofia Watts, Charlotte Magill and Harriet Knight were among the KELSET Elementary School students releasing salmon fry into Reay Creek May 7. (Ian Bruce/Submitted)
Saanich Peninsula elementary students help restock, clean up local creeks

Salmon fry releases took place at Reay Creek and Tetayut Creek

The City of Victoria hopes to improve its cultural spaces this year and it wants non-profits to help. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Grants up to $125,000 open to Victoria non-profit arts and cultural organizations

Victoria Cultural Infrastructure Grant applications close at the end of May

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich health and safety manager named one of Canada’s top 40 women in safety

Canadian Occupational Safety magazine celebrates women leading safety sector in 2021

North Saanich has started the design of a crosswalk at the intersection of Mills and Littlewood roads near Garden Child Care Centre, whose owner Tracey McCullough has been calling for such a sidewalk. As such, she has been echoing a previous appeal by the building’s owner, Heather and Cory Hastings, standing respectively with seven-year-old Jack Hastings and five-year-old Felix Hastings. (Black Press Media File)
North Saanich moves ahead with crosswalk near child care centre

Crosswalk proposed for Littlewood and Mills roads parts of approved active transportation plan

Colwood city council did a last minute adjustment to this year’s budget, dropping the planned property increase to five per cent. Last year they didn’t increase taxes at all. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood agrees to 5% tax increase for 2021, deferring some expenses to next year

Last-minute changes will save the typical Colwood homeowner $56

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read