WARNING: This story contains graphic details that may not be suitable for all readers.
The trial of an Oak Bay man accused of murdering his two young daughters resumed Tuesday, with the defendant’s defence cross-examining the girls’ mother.
Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, whose bodies were found on Christmas Day 2017 in his Oak Bay apartment.
Cotton faced questions from prosecutors on Monday, sharing details of the days leading up to the killings and the agonizing moment she learned her daughters were dead.
On Tuesday, Berry’s defence pushed back against Cotton’s characterization of events, with a line of questioning suggesting that the ex-partners had a largely amicable co-parenting relationship.
Berry’s lawyer pointed to gaps in text messages between the couple, alleging they showed that the couple was actually speaking face-to-face about the girls, an allegation Cotton denied.
“It appears he’s obviously working with you at co-parenting,” Berry’s lawyer Kevin McCullough said at one point.
“Yes, it appears this way,” Cotton replied.
“You’re denying having face to face communication with Berry […] Is that what you’re doing?” he replied.
“Yes, I am,” said Cotton. “We didn’t communicate. And that’s how things got to where they got to.”
The cross examination became emotional at one point, when McCullough read a lengthy transcription of months worth of correspondence between the pair, which largely focused on scheduling logistics for their daughters, and a kids’ yoga class in particular.
Defence asked if Chloe and Aubrey had ever attended the class, at which point Cotton broke down in tears — telling the court that no, the girls had not attended, as the class began in 2018, after the girls’ deaths.
At another emotional point, defence questioned why Cotton would have let the girls stay with their father if she suspected that Berry’s electricity had been cut off.
“That’s the biggest regret I’ll ever have in my life,” Cotton replied.
WATCH: (April 16, 2019) Trial begins for Oak Bay father accused of killing daughters
The court has previously heard that Berry was found naked and seriously injured in the bathtub of his home when police arrived to conduct a welfare check on the girls.
Crown has alleged those wounds were self-inflicted and meant to be fatal.
Defence has pushed back against Crown’s version of events, questioning a firefighter’s memory of the day in question and suggesting police may have allowed another suspect to escape by leaving the scene unguarded for about five minutes.
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