A father accused of murdering his two daughters has told his trial a “yarn” about the day the girls were killed, a Crown attorney argued Friday.
Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments in the B.C. Supreme Court that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters on Christmas Day in 2017 in Oak Bay, near Victoria.
As Christmas Day loomed, Berry was “so destitute he didn’t even have food for the girls” and he had no one he could turn to for help, Weir told the jury.
Berry has testified that he owed thousands of dollars to a loan shark named Paul and that he was attacked in his apartment by a “dark haired, dark skinned” man on the day of his daughters’ deaths.
He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry.
In his testimony, Berry told the jury that two henchmen connected to the loan shark visited his apartment and stored a bag of drugs there in the months before the attack on Christmas Day.
Weir said Berry’s testimony was ”like the plot from a bad low-budget movie.”
“Like everything in his life, he wouldn’t accept his responsibility,” he said. “There was no Paul … no dark-skinned child murderer… .”
Weir alleged Berry’s “entire story of Christmas Day is a lie.”
“It’s self-serving, illogical and at some points defies the laws of physics,” he said. “Ladies and gentlemen, this attack simply didn’t happen.”
How is it that Berry could remember a doctor’s exact words when he was in the hospital after he says he was stabbed but cannot provide more than a “generic” description of Paul than “tall, Chinese, and in his 50s,” Weir asked.
“He has no explanation of things that cry out for explanation,” Weir told the jury. ”Andrew Berry’s evidence is selective and it’s self-serving.”
Weir said evidence presented during the trial showed the father tried to kill himself after killing his daughters, but “in the end, Mr. Berry was destined to survive this nightmare he created.”
When Weir cross-examined Berry, he suggested the accused had stopped opening mail, paying bills and ignored a Christmas invitation from his sister in 2017 because he had decided to end his life.
Berry denied he was planning to kill himself.
“He cannot be believed, and his evidence cannot raise a reasonable doubt. His story has conflicts at every turn,” Weir said.
It is an “elaborate yarn,” he said.
The only person who knows what happened on that Christmas Day in 2017 is Berry, Weir told the court.
But the only reasonable conclusion is that “Berry took the lives of his girls,” he said.
Weir said the motive for the murders was Berry’s ”long-simmering animosity” towards his estranged wife, Sarah Cotton.
Berry believed she wanted to get him out of their daughters’ lives, he said.
Weir said Berry believed he would lose custody of the girls after that Christmas.
“If he couldn’t have them, Sarah couldn’t either,” he told the jury.
Hina Alam, The Canadian Press