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

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