Andrew Berry has been sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility of parole for 22 years, after he was found guilty of murdering his two daughters, six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry.
According to CBC reporter Kathryn Marlow, second degree murder automatically carries a life sentence, while the amount of time that Berry must spend in prison before he is eligible to apply for parole was determined by Justice Miriam Gropper on Thursday morning.
Justice Gropper stated during sentencing arguments earlier this week that the Crown had successfully proven that the accused killed his daughters by stabbing them multiple times, and then attempted to take his own life.
The judge also stated that prosecution has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that his actions were motivated in part by hatred for ex-wife and mother of the girls, Sarah Cotton.
The long and dramatic trial in which Berry stood accused of double homicide commenced in April 2019, revealing gruesome details of the night the incident took place two years ago on Christmas Day.
WARNING: This section contains graphic details which may be disturbing to some readers.
According to CBC News coverage of the trial, Berry told the court that he and his daughters were attacked in his apartment by a man after he owed money to a loan shark.
On the other hand, the Crown testified that Berry used a knife and baseball bat to kill the girls before attempting to kill himself.
Autopsy reports revealed that 6-year-old Chloe Berry had been struck in the head hard enough to fracture her skull, and then stabbed 26 times. Her sister, 4-year-old Aubrey was stabbed 32 times.
In his testimony, Const. Piotr Ulanowski, the first officer to enter the Beach Drive apartment after the incident, recalled finding Andrew Berry lying naked in a bathtub with stab wounds on his chest and neck area.
The prosecution also informed the jury that Andrew Berry was struggling with his finances, his power had been shut off, and he was soon to be evicted for being behind on his rent.
A long and ugly history
According to a court document, Andrew Berry and Sarah Cotton spent five days in November 2016 at the B.C. Supreme Court fighting for custody of their daughters.
On May 31st, 2017, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Victoria Gray handed down her judgement for a shared custody arrangement.
With regard to Christmas 2017, the girls were to have parenting time with their father from noon on December 24 to noon on December 25.
The court document outlines a series of disturbing allegations against Berry in the past:
- Cotton testified that after her father passed away in 2013, Berry started criticizing her and calling her foul names in front of the girls.
- When Berry was angry with her, he would drive erratically and go over the speed limit, even when the children were in the car.
- The court accepted Cotton’s “uncontradicted evidence” that Berry threatened to “blow up the house” if he didn’t get a breakdown of childcare expenses and family allowance cheques from the government.
- In September 2013, Berry was arrested when Cotton called the police after he pinned her to her bed at around 3 AM.
- In October 2015, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) investigated Berry after reports that he had inappropriately touched Aubrey’s genitals. He was then instructed to take parenting courses.
These, and other revelations in the court document had many in the community asking whether the judicial system failed to protect Chloe and Aubrey.