Sisters 4-year-old Aubrey Berry and 6-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Sisters 4-year-old Aubrey Berry and 6-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Mother of murdered Oak Bay girls gives tearful victim impact statement

Sentencing continues for Oak Bay father who killed his two daughters on Christmas Day

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details about a double murder.

A grisly scene emerged on Tuesday, of the moments, days and months after Andrew Berry murdered his daughters, Chloe and Aubrey, on Christmas Day 2017.

In total, 14 victim impact statements were read aloud in court, along with three community impact statements, while Berry sat in the defendant box seemingly detached, refusing to look at or even acknowledge the hole he left in these people’s worlds.

Sarah Cotton, the girls’ mother, was first.

“To try to understand how the father of my children is capable of doing such a horrific and unimaginable act to his own daughters is inconceivable,” she told the packed courtroom, through tears. “All they ever did was love him.”

Cotton described the blame, guilt and terror she still feels. She spoke about the impact that has rippled through her loved ones, especially an aunt living with cerebral palsy, who had been considered high functioning until Chloe and Aubrey were killed.

“Having to see how this affected others is devastating and too much to bear on top of my own grief and loss,” she said.

Chloe and Aubrey’s friends still talk about them, and their lack of understanding is heart-wrenching said Cotton. One of Chloe’s closest friends wrote her Christmas list months before Christmas the year after they were killed, and Chloe was number one on that list. The two friends would have been in Grade 2 together this year.

For months, Cotton avoided going into Oak Bay Village, unable to see the places she and her daughters had made so many memories at — the toy store, 4 Cats Art Studio, the grocery store, the Starbucks. She has to stop herself sometimes when she thinks about them because it’s too painful.

“I had to organize my children’s funeral, have Chloe and Aubrey cremated and bury their ashes. No mother should ever have to do this,” she said. A chorus of sniffles echoed hers in the courtroom.

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

Cotton was prescribed medication for her depression, anxiety and insomnia — things she never had to deal with prior to this awful tragedy. When she cuts her pills into pieces before going to bed, Cotton thinks about how she should be putting the girls to bed.

“I will never know that contented feeling of knowing my children are fast asleep and safe in their beds,” she said.

Chloe was struck with a small pink bat that belonged to her and rendered unconscious, before being stabbed 26 times while she slept in her bed in her father’s home. Aubrey was stabbed 32 times in the bed she had shared with Berry the night before.

READ MORE: About this case

When Berry and his sister, whose name is protected by a publication ban, were children they would play Monopoly. She wondered aloud if this was the beginning of the gambling addiction that lead in part to the girls’ death.

Berry was at the end of his rope financially, having spent all his pension on gambling bets and had no prospect of any funds coming his way. The hydro in his apartment had been turned off when the girls went to stay with him for Christmas. He knew he would not get his children back once he handed them over to Cotton, as he had no way to get the power turned back on.

Aubrey and Chloe’s nanny, Suzanne Morin — Suzy to the girls — spoke about getting the call and how she was held by those around her as she screamed for the girls. She was hospitalized twice, once because she could not stop screaming. The way Aubrey would throw her head back when she laughed, or Chloe’s gap-toothed smile and their shared love of Taylor Swift are burned into her memory.

“I will always be their Suzy,” she said, with Cotton standing by her side. “And I will miss them every single day for the rest of my life.”

A drawing, done by a four-year-old boy who was close friends with Aubrey and Chloe, that was shown in court. It depecits a house on the right, where the little boy is alone in his room crying. On the left, he’s drawn Chloe and Aubrey in the sky, in a rainbow house. A line separates the two homes, with a small gap where two birds have flown through. (Provided by Crown Counsel)

The four-year-old son of Sandra Healing and Matt Green — who was the girls’ godfather — drew a picture that was shown in court. The drawing is of a house on the right, where the little boy is alone in his room crying. On the left, he drew Chloe and Aubrey in the sky, in a rainbow house. A line separates the two homes, with a small gap where two birds have flown through.

“He said that’s how he visits the girls now, he thinks that when ravens and eagles visit him it’s [the girls],” said Healing. “He wishes he could see them as girls again.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay double murder trial: Five months of evidence, testimony summarized

Paramedic Hayley Blackmore, one of the first on scene at Berry’s Beach Drive apartment, had to take months off work. She wasn’t able to be in dark rooms and had to sleep with the lights on. Blackmore would wake up physically and mentally sick.

“I began to understand why first responders take their own lives as a way out from the unbearable weight of the trauma,” said her statement. “I will never again sit down to Christmas dinner with my family, without thinking of two beautiful blond children who brutally had their lives taken from them.

Community impact statements were given from Ricky De Souza, principle of St. Christophers’ Montessori School where Aubrey attended, Stuart Hall, head of the Christ Church Cathedral School, where Chloe went to Grade 1, along with Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch.

At one point, De Souza addressed Berry directly. “Andrew, you were our peer. A fellow parent. … We’d chat in the yard after school while our children played,” he said, breaking down.

Hall spoke about organizing counselling services for students and staff, but especially for Chloe’s teacher, who had a former teacher join her in the classroom, in case she needed to leave. Several parents who were separated or divorced reported to Hall their children were fearful of going home with their father.

The sentencing hearing will continue on Wednesday.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

andrew berryOak Bay double homicide

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

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read