Oak Bay father Andrew Berry on trial for second-degree murder in the deaths of daughters Aubrey Berry, 4 and Chloe Berry, 6. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Felicity Don)

Sentence hearing begins for B.C. dad convicted of killing two young daughters

Girls’ mother to read victim impact statement on Tuesday

A father found guilty of killing his daughters on Christmas Day two years ago still says he didn’t commit the crimes, a B.C. Supreme Court judge was told Monday.

Andrew Berry was convicted in September by a jury on two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry.

“Mr. Berry maintains he did not kill the children,” defence counsel Kevin McCullough said during a sentencing hearing that is expected to last four days.

Berry was seated in the prisoner’s box for the start of the hearing, wearing red, prison-issue athletic clothing and shackles around his ankles.

The trial heard each girl had been stabbed dozens of times and left on their beds in Berry’s Oak Bay apartment, while he was found unconscious in the bathtub, suffering stab wounds to his neck and throat.

Berry testified that he was attacked because he owed money to a loan shark, but the Crown argued the motive for the murders was Berry’s anger towards his estranged partner, who he believed planned to seek an end to their joint custody of the girls.

A victim impact statement from their mother, Sarah Cotton, is expected to be read Tuesday as part of the sentencing proceedings.

Crown counsel Clare Jennings said the jury rejected Berry’s testimony and believed it “was in fact fabricated.”

She said his testimony that an unknown man attacked him in his Oak Bay apartment and then murdered the girls, who were asleep in their beds, was a fabrication.

“The Crown says Mr. Berry’s testimony was self-serving, unbelievable,” said Jennings.

She said police found a suicide note in Berry’s apartment and he asked four first responders at the scene to “kill me.”

Jennings said Berry killed his daughters because he wanted to hurt his former partner and his own parents for his difficulties.

“His actions were about blaming those people,” she said.

READ MORE: Andrew Berry tells murder trial he didn’t lie about loan shark

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility can be set at a range of between 10 to 25 years.

A judge can also decide if sentences for multiple counts of murder should be served consecutively or concurrently.

Following his conviction in September, six of 12 jurors recommended Berry serve 15 years, consecutively, on each murder count; two jurors called for a 10-year sentence to be served concurrently; and, four jurors made no recommendation.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Dining moose a welcome distraction at Salmon Arm campus

Pair feast on willows, unperturbed by onlookers at Okanagan College

Woman convicted in Salmon Arm love triangle murder granted escorted temporary absences

Monica Sikorski was 17 when she plotted shooting death of 22-year-old Tyler Myers

Shuswap’s water rescue crew preparing for frigid temperatures

New training follows Dec. 9 mission to help a man suffering health problems at remote cabin

Shuswap outdoor skating rinks open to public

Rinks in Celista and Silver Creek ready for outdoor fun

Slight drop in annual Salmon Arm bird count, seed sales spike

Shuswap Naturalist Club bird spotters excited to see several owls

Older Canadians highlighted in Kelowna film project to fight ageism

The project is part of a campaign to combat ageism

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

Group builds shelters for Vernon’s stray cats

Twenty insulated cat shelters were constructed by volunteers and delivered around town

UBCO partners with Boeing to test new anti-ice coating technology

The coating could one day be applied to all airplanes to prevent ice buildup

Revelstoke already double last year’s snowfall

The city is just below halfway to the snowiest winter on record

True Stories: Okanagan memoir-writers, reading

Reading with local North Okanagan writers Art Dalton, Patti Shales Lefkos, Raven Dahl, Janelle Hardy

Kelowna’s last video store, Leo’s Videos, to remain open despite failed sale

Kelowna’s last video rental store will remain open and under its namesake’s ownership

Most Read