Andrew Berry arrives in a BC Sheriffs transport vehicle at the Victoria Courthouse for his sentencing hearing which is set to begin at 10 a.m. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Andrew Berry arrives in a BC Sheriffs transport vehicle at the Victoria Courthouse for his sentencing hearing which is set to begin at 10 a.m. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria father who killed daughters will be eligible for parole after 22 years

Andrew Berry get life sentence for the murders of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, on Christmas Day 2017

Andrew Berry will serve 22 years before he is eligible for parole. Berry was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his two children, Aubrey and Chloe Berry, who were found stabbed to death in their own beds, in their own home on Christmas Day in 2017.

Outside the courthouse after sentencing, Oak Bay Deputy Police Chief Ray Bernoties said he feels nothing positive about the outcome.

“Nothing changed from two years ago on Christmas,” he said, fighting back tears. “Two innocent girls were taken from our community. And we’ll move on together.”

Chloe was six and Aubrey was four when they were killed. They loved to paint and their favourite colours were pink and purple. Chloe was missing some of her baby teeth and you could see gaps when she smiled. Aubrey would throw her head back when she laughed and wanted to travel the world.

Only whispers were heard Thursday morning when Berry entered the courtroom. He glanced briefly at the rows of people before his handcuffs were removed.

Berry was sentenced to life in prison for their deaths. His sentences will be served concurrently and he will be eligible for parole in 22 years.

RELATED: Mother of murdered Oak Bay girls gives tearful victim impact statement

Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper laid out her decision for the courtroom after a three-day sentencing hearing, discussing Berry’s motive and facts of the case. She noted Berry was not suffering from any mental or physical disabilities at the time of the murders.

She determined Berry harboured resentment and anger towards the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, since the couple separated in 2015. Berry testified he thought Cotton had taken intentional steps to “screw him over,” and that he wanted Cotton to blame herself.

Earlier this week, lawyers took turns addressing Gropper with suggested parole eligibility. Defence attorney Kevin McCullough asked for 15 to 20 years and made no mention of consecutive or concurrent sentencing.

Crown lawyer Patrick Weir asked for a sentence of 21 to 24 years for each count, served concurrently or at the same time.

On Monday, Gropper determined the facts of the case which she would base Berry’s sentence on. Crown counsel Clare Jennings called Berry’s alternate tale of owing money to a loan shark “completely fabricated” and “self-serving.”

Gropper agreed with Crown, 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.

Chloe was struck in the head with a pink toy bat, hard enough to fracture her skull and render her unconscious before she was stabbed 26 times. Aubrey was stabbed 32 times. Both of them had stab wounds to the front and back of their body. Berry was found naked, in a bathtub full of water with wounds to his neck, which the judge found to be self-inflicted.

It is unclear which girl was killed first.

Gropper stated that in both murders, Berry would have had to turn their bodies over at least twice and that he would have had to walk between their rooms. This shows it was not a spontaneous decision and that he would have seen the effects of his stabbing on the first child, before moving on to the next. It’s not known if he went back and forth between the girls, or at all.

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.

On Tuesday, 13 victim impact statements and three community impact statements were read aloud in court.

Cotton issued a statement after the sentencing decision on Thursday.

“I believe the family law system and the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) failed us leading up to the girls’ deaths,” Cotton said in the statement. “I did everything in my power to keep my children safe. However, my concerns made to MCFD about my children’s wellbeing in their father’s care and Andrew’s mental health fell on deaf ears. Then my concerns that he had a personality disorder were not brought forward in any significant way through the family court process. I can only hope that changes will be made throughout the family law system so that tragedies such as ours do not happen again.”

Berry was at the end of his rope financially. He had gambled away his pension from a 15-year career at BC Ferries. His hydro had been cut off and he didn’t have money for food.

“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.

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

Weir said Crown lawyers believe the sentence is appropriate, but recognize no outcome is enough.

“Of course he’s serving a life sentence so there is no guarantee he will ever get parole,” Weir said. “Even though it’s a long period of time, the fact is that it will do some good, but it will not, of course, remove the trauma that has been placed on this community by Mr. Berry’s actions, which will last far longer than the 22 years.”

In her statement, Cotton noted she is relieved this part of the judicial process is over and supported the judge’s decision, although she said there is no length of sentence appropriate for these crimes.

She thanked Crown prosecutors and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit for their work.

“I want to thank my community of Oak Bay, especially all the first responders for their strength, bravery, courage and sensitivity throughout this horrific tragedy. This community, including my neighbours in Oak Bay, have held me up and embraced me the last two years – I have felt so protected … I hope to find a little bit of peace in the coming year and hope that we can all heal as we move forward.”

READ MORE: About this case


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

andrew berry

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

Just Posted

A pedestrian looks over a vigil set up in Nelson on Friday to mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which is held Dec. 6 to commemorate the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre that killed 14 women and injured 10 others. Photo: Tyler Harper
Demand for safe space increases in the fall at Nelson’s transition house

The eight-bed service for women and children fleeing domestic violence has been full since Oct. 1

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Interior Health says Salmo’s COVID-19 cases have been contained. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Interior Health: Salmo’s COVID-19 cases are contained

Every person who tested positive has recovered

Vases of red roses will be placed in remembrance at several locations in Trail on Monday. Photo: Jamie Street
Trail bridge goes red on Sunday to honour national remembrance

Every night in Canada over 3,400 women and their children are in shelters trying to escape violence

Masks are mandatory indoors in all B.C. businesses. Photo: Black Press file
Think about the common good: wear a mask

Opinion by Trail Times columnist Louise McEwan

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read