WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers
The Vancouver Island man accused of murdering his two young daughters made up a story about alleged harassment by a loan shark and his enforcers in the run up to the girls’ deaths, Crown prosecutors alleged Monday.
The suggestion came as Andrew Berry took the stand for a second day of cross examination in the trial.
The bodies of his daughters, six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, were found with more than 50 stab wounds in his Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day, 2017, the court has heard. Berry has pleaded not-guilty to second degree murder in the case.
Berry has told the court that he owed $25,000 plus interest in gambling debts to “Paul,” a Chinese casino loan shark.
On Monday, Crown prosecutor Patrick Weir challenged Berry’s version of events — including the existence of the henchmen and the loan shark himself — along with Berry’s apparent lack of concern for his daughters’ safety.
Berry denied making up the scenario.
Berry has testified that enforcers who worked for Paul came to his apartment five times, twice to drop off paper bags of drugs for storage, and said they had taken keys to the unit.
Under cross-examination, Berry told the court he was frightened when the men came to his apartment.
But he said he was not worried about the girls, who were in the apartment watching a movie during one of the alleged visits.
“Did you think how this would affect the safety of the girls?” asked Weir.
“No,” replied an emotional Berry, who later added, “I’m just not that bright. I thought it would be easy, they’d come and go.”
Berry described one of the alleged enforcers as being tall, with a “fancy” black leather jacket and hair above his ears that he combed over, while the other man was short with tattoos, black short hair in a brush cut, and wore a white T-shirt and a suit vest, he said.
The Crown’s theory is that Berry killed the girls, then tried to commit suicide because he was depressed over debt and financial troubles which threatened to derail his custody agreement.
The defence has argued that Berry was not the killer, but instead was targeted over his gambling debts, and that police allowed the real killer to escape when they left the apartment unguarded for about five minutes.
Berry’s jury trial is slated to continue Tuesday with further cross-examination of the accused.
With files from the Canadian Press