Sarah Cotton with her daughters Chloe (left) and Aubrey (right) taken in October 2017. (Photo Ryan MacDonald Photography)

Sarah Cotton with her daughters Chloe (left) and Aubrey (right) taken in October 2017. (Photo Ryan MacDonald Photography)

Story told by Oak Bay dad who killed daughters ‘defies logic,’ says judge at start of sentencing

Victim impact statements start Tuesday at Andrew Berry’s sentencing hearing

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details about a double murder.

The first day of the sentencing hearing for the Oak Bay father who murdered his two young daughters on Christmas day in 2017 began in the Victoria courthouse on Monday.

Andrew Berry’s defense lawyer told the court that Berry maintains he did not kill four-year-old Aubrey and six-year-old Chloe, despite being found guilty by a jury after an almost six-month trial.

Berry sat in the defendant box dressed in a red sweatshirt and pants from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre. The back two rows of the courtroom were filled with family and friends. 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.”

A break was called around noon for Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper to determine what facts had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and would be taken into account.

Jennings told the courts that the jury “clearly rejected that a dark-skinned man killed” the girls, along with injuring Berry in the process. Gropper agreed with Crown following the break, stating that it “defies logic” that the loan shark would kill the children and leave Berry alive.

Evidence shown at trial determined the girls were killed where they were sleeping, in their own home, which Gropper said would be considered an aggravating factor. There was blood inside the suite, but no blood was found anywhere outside the suite.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay father Andrew Berry guilty in daughters’ murders

Chloe was struck in the head and stabbed 26 times, Aubrey was stabbed 32 times. Berry was found naked, in a bathtub full of water with wounds to his neck, which the judge found to be self-inflicted. A small pink bat was found tangled in Chloe’s hair and a knife, similar to a set found in Berry’s kitchen, was found on the floor next to Aubrey’s body. A sheath for the same knife was found on the kitchen floor. Neither girl had defensive wounds, which both Crown and Gropper stated is consistent with them being rendered unconscious prior to being murdered. Berry would have had to turn both girls over at least twice, said Gropper, which was evident by the stab wounds on the front and back of the body.

It is unclear which girl was killed first.

“Berry would have seen the effects of his stabbings and then moved on to the other bedroom and done the same thing to the second daughter. A period of time must have elapsed,” said Jennings, adding that Crown did not know whether all the wounds were inflicted to each child one at a time, or whether Berry went back and forth between the two.

Berry, who had quit his job at BC Ferries, was at the end of his rope financially stated Gropper.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay double murder trial: Five months of evidence, testimony summarized

“He had burned bridges with his parents and couldn’t go to them … he spent all his pension funds to his knowledge and had no further funds coming, he had maxed out all his credit and was in fact in overdraft in all of his accounts,” explained Jennings.

Berry murdered Aubrey and Chloe, at least in part, because he wished to hurt Sarah Cotton, the girls’ mother said Gropper.

“Berry believed, for good reason, that he wouldn’t get the girls back when he handed them over to Sarah on Christmas day,” said the judge. The hydro in Berry’s apartment had been turned off and he admitted he had no money to get it turned back on.

“Whether Berry chose to kill Chloe and Aubrey to protect them from his suicide … or to stop Sarah Cotton from having [the girls], it is very clear that the motivation for all his actions on Dec. 25, 2017 stemmed in part from the animosity towards Sarah Cotton,” said Gropper.

Berry paid little attention to the judge as she spoke during the second half of Monday’s proceedings, keeping his head down to write on the paper in front of him.

The hearing is expected to last four days, with victim impact statements starting on Tuesday.

READ MORE: About this case



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

andrew berryOak Bay double homicide

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jessica Sault of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation is hosting a virtual cedar weaving workshop through Royal Roads University on April 25. (Black Press Media file)
Cedar trees weave deeply into lives of coastal First Nations communities

Jessica Sault of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation hosts virtual cedar weaving workshop through Royal Roads

Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in two houses at the Mount St. Mary long-term care home on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at Victoria long-term care home

Resident, staff member test positive for COVID-19 at Mount St. Mary facility

Island Health has extended an overdose advisory for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Island Health extends overdose advisory for Greater Victoria

The extension warns of an increase in opioid and stimulant overdoses in the region

Leon the squirrel gets a fancy snack of almonds and sunflower seeds from a well-meaning local, who really should be leaving Leon to his own foraging devices. (Submitted)
Squirrels don’t need your nuts, thanks

Consider birding instead of wildlife feeding, SPCA suggests

Titan Sparks, who attends Grade 3 at Deep Cove Elementary, plants a seedling to help replace trees damaged by climate change near Deep Cove Elementary. (Louise Beaudry/Submitted)
North Saanich school plants a seed in the fight against climate change

Students at Deep Cove Elementary plant seedlings to replace downed trees

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Most Read