WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers
The Vancouver Island man accused of murdering his two young daughters painted a picture of a normal, happy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as he returned to the stand for a third day of cross-examination on Tuesday.
Andrew Berry is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, whose bodies were found in his Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day, 2017.
On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Patrick Weir asked Berry to take him through girls’ last hours, challenging him repeatedly on details.
WATCH: Father accused of killing two daughters under more cross-examination
“It must have been a very memorable day… you must have relived that day,” Weir said.
Berry replied that he didn’t have a very vivid memory of Christmas Eve.
Weir played video of the girls laughing and playing at a local rec centre, where Berry said they went swimming that afternoon. Weir challenged that recollection, noting that the pool closed that day at 1:30 p.m.
Berry testified the girls stopped a toy store afterwards, to which Weir responded with the suggestion that the store was, in fact, closed at that time.
Berry went on to say the girls opened presents back at the apartment and were excited to get floaties to play with in the snow. Pressed on why there were no gift boxes found in the apartment, Berry said he didn’t know.
The court heard that the girls also left a note, a bowl of bunny crackers and a toothbrush out for Santa, the latter of which was still unopened the following day.
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The Crown’s version of events alleges that Berry murdered the girls early Christmas morning, but Berry testified Tuesday that the trio got up as normal and opened gifts.
“I’m going to suggest to you it was left unopened because the girls never woke up Christmas morning,” Weir said. “I’m going to suggest the girls never opened gifts Christmas morning, would you agree to that?”
Berry denied both allegations, testifying instead that the trio went out and played in the snow for much of the day.
Asked if he saw or spoke to anyone he knew while they were out, he replied: “Not to my recollection.”
Throughout the cross-examination, Weir pressed Berry repeatedly on specific details about the day: Did the girls get hungry? What were they wearing? Did they make any stops along the way?
Berry often gave one-word answers or said he didn’t remember, prompting Weir to ask him if he was making up the events — a suggestion Berry denied.
From the girls’ final days, Weir moved on to challenging Berry’s version of the family’s final moments.
Berry claims he was attacked by henchmen working for a loan shark to whom he was deeply indebted when he and the girls returned to the apartment.
Berry testified he was attacked from behind in his bedroom and stabbed.
“I don’t know, I was in pain. I lost my senses,” replied Berry.
The court has heard Berry was found with 16 stab wounds, naked in his bathtub.
Berry has testified he was stabbed once in the neck. On Tuesday, Crown showed him a photo of several superficial slashes to his neck.
WATCH: Father accused of killing his two daughters takes the stand
“I’m going to suggest to you those little nicks are what’s called ‘hesitation marks,’” said Weir.
“Caused by you attempting to stab yourself but not being able to until you finally get up enough courage to drive that knife into your throat.”
Berry tried to explain the wounds, but concluded, “I don’t know.”
Crown’s theory is that Berry killed the girls, then tried to die by suicide because he was depressed over debt and financial troubles that 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.
— With files from the Canadian Press