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 heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

RCMP. (File photo: Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media)
Surrey RCMP recover stolen semi-trailer and its $200K of cargo

Police say the cargo was found in separate location than the trailer

Surrey Little Theatre is located on 184th Street at Fraser Highway. (File photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey Little Theatre, Langley Players look to merge as single company at 200th Street theatre

A ‘really exciting’ development for the volunteer-run theatre companies

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A convoy of seven pickup trucks, six of which were hauling boats, makes its way around the Chilliwack Law Courts on Dec. 1, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
First court date for Fraser River anglers ticketed during demonstration fishery

Convoy of trucks circled the courthouse in downtown Chilliwack Tuesday honking their support

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read