Warning: This story contains disturbing content about a double murder
Nearly two years after four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry were found murdered in their father’s Oak Bay apartment, family, friends, first responders and community members had the chance to address the man who killed them.
In September, Andrew Berry, 45, was convicted in the violent stabbing deaths of his young daughters, discovered in their beds on Christmas night, 2017.
One after another, victim impact statements were delivered to the court room, which included a solemn and stoic Andrew Berry in the prisoner’s box.
Berry faces an automatic life sentence. In the afternoon, lawyers took turns addressing Justice Miriam Gropper with suggested parole eligibility.
Defense attorney, Kevin McCullough made only a brief address to the judge, asking for 15 to 20 years, with no mention of consecutive or concurrent sentencing.
“Mr. Berry says he did not kill the children,” he said.
Crown lawyer Patrick Weir asked for a sentence of 21 to 24 years for each count, served concurrently, meaning Berry would serve both counts at the same time.
Weir said Berry’s sentence must be “proportionate to the gravity of the offense” and called the Oak Bay father’s actions “selfish to a degree that denies comprehension.”
He asked the judge to consider a series of aggravating factors when handing down her sentence.
One factor, he said, is the fact that Berry deliberately ended the lives of two victims, and another is that those two victims were his own children, what he called, in a reference to case law, the “worst possible breach of trust.”
“Neither of these children could have fought back or defended themselves against these horrific acts,” Weir said. “They were absolutely defenceless. Neither showed any clear evidence of defence wounds.
“These children should have been protected by their father, not murdered by him.”
Weir also pointed to the “extremely vicious” nature of the attack. Berry used both a knife and bat in his attack of Chloe, and a knife in his attack of Aubrey.
The girls were found with dozens of stab wounds on the front and backs of their bodies and Chloe had been struck with such force she had a fractured skull in several places and significant bleeding and swelling in her brain.
“There can be no possible explanation for the amount of overkill used by Mr. Berry,” Weir said. “Both of these attacks… would have taken some time to carry out. And at least one of the attacks… was not spontaneous but rather, occurred after Mr. Berry had seen the effect of his stabbing on the first daughter he murdered.”
Weir said the consequences and profound devastation the murders have had on the girls’ family, friends and community must be a consideration in sentencing.
“That two little children were stabbed to death on both their fronts and their backs, both before and after their hearts stopped beating, while in their own beds, in their own home on Christmas morning is unquestionably horrific,” he said.
After delivering the guilty verdict on Sept. 26, the jury made recommendations to Gropper on parole eligibility, with six jurors recommending 15 years for each count served consecutively (one after another), two suggesting 10 years for each count served concurrently and four withholding recommendations.
Gropper is expected to deliver her decision in the Victoria Courthouse on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.
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