WARNING: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers
Crown wrapped up its days-long cross-examination of the B.C. man accused of killing his daughters by painting a devastating picture of the day he allegedly stabbed them before trying to kill himself.
Andrew Berry is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry, whose bodies were found in his Oak Bay apartment on Christmas Day, 2017.
Berry has plead not guilty to the crime, insisting he was attacked by associates of a loan shark to whom he owed a significant gambling debt. The girls were also killed in the attack, Berry has testified throughout more than a week spent on the stand.
Berry was found by police in the bathtub with several stab wounds, the court has heard, which Crown has suggested were self-inflicted.
Crown’s theory is that Berry’s debt, which also led to the power being cut off at his apartment, made him depressed and fearful he would lose custody of his daughters.
WATCH: (Aug. 28) First look at video evidence in trial of father accused of killing daughters
On Thursday, prosecutor Patrick Weir suggested Berry was so desperate for cash by December 2017 that he had turned to extreme measures, including collecting bottles and asking his sister to buy him lottery tickets.
“I’m going to suggest to you, Mr. Berry, that you were so desperate for cash that on Dec. 24 you were cashing in bottles,” Weir proposed.
Berry disagreed that he did so out of desperation. “We always did that,” he said.
Berry confirmed he had asked his sister for $40 worth of lottery tickets as an early Christmas gift on Dec. 8, but disagreed when Weir suggested it was “a last ditch effort to make it big, to pay all your bills and avoid your problems.”
By Christmas Eve, which Berry has painted as a happy time with his daughters, Weir suggested Berry was so depressed about his mounting debt that he had stopped opening his mail, including bills.
Berry admitted he had run out of money, but claimed he was planning to wait until the new year to cash in his pension options from BC Ferries, where he had worked until May 2017.
Weir alleged that by Christmas, those pension monies were “long gone.”
“No,” Berry responded.
Crown then turned to the state of Berry’s kitchen, which only contained oatmeal, crackers and dried potatoes when Chloe and Aubrey were with him on Christmas Eve. The only fresh food he had was cauliflower.
Berry said his fridge wasn’t working because of his hydro being turned off, forcing him and the girls to use gift cards to eat out at restaurants.
“I needed to go grocery shopping,” Berry said.
As his problems mounted, Berry said he knew he could lose custody of his daughters if he remained in debt and without power at his apartment, but insisted he wasn’t worried about losing them.
“Co-parenting was getting much better,” he told Weir, referring to his relationship with his ex-partner, Sarah Cotton.
Weir suggested Berry resented Cotton for making allegations of abuse against the girls, which were deemed to be false after an investigation from the province and police, and the deterioration of their relationship. Berry denied it.
Berry did agree with Crown’s assertion that he “despised” his mother, who had helped fund Chloe’s tuition at a school Berry didn’t want her to go to.
Weir wrapped up his cross-examination of Berry by laying out the sequence of events as Crown saw them, posing a series of questions about what happened between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning in 2017.
Berry disagreed with each suggestion.
“I’m going to suggest to you that in your world in your mind that by the end of Dec. 24, life had become hopeless and unbearable for you,” Weir began. “You decided to take your own life. Do you agree or not agree with that?”
“I disagree,” Berry replied.
WATCH: (Aug. 27) Crown uses video evidence in cross-examination of father accused of killing two daughters
“I’m going to suggest you had no money, no prospects, lots of debt, a gambling problem, and you knew that the girls were about to be taken away from you. Do you agree or disagree?”
“I’m going to suggest to you that you chose Dec. 25 as the date to commit suicide, because that would be the largest psychological blow you could deliver to Sarah and your parents and one that they would have to remember every single year. Do you agree with that?”
“I’m going to suggest to you Mr. Berry that you weren’t planning on killing Chloe and Aubrey, but in the morning something changed and you lost your temper. Do you agree with that?”
“I’m going to suggest it was probably something along the lines of maybe Chloe waking up and saying that she couldn’t wait to go to her mom’s to open up the presents and see her grandparents. Do you agree with that?”
WATCH: (Aug. 26) Father accused of killing two daughters under more cross-examination
“At that point you lost your temper Mr. Berry, I suggest, and you picked up that bat that was right there, and you hit Chloe with it and you knew at that point there was no going back. Do you agree or disagree with that Mr. Berry?”
“I suggest Mr. Berry you were going to commit suicide and you decided that you couldn’t not take the girls with you. Do you agree with that?”
“And you thought, I suggest, that this would be a devastating blow to Sarah and your mom, both of whom loved the girls.”
“And then I suggest, Mr. Berry, it was your turn. You wanted to commit suicide right then and there in Aubrey‘s room and you tried to, and you stabbed yourself in the neck.”
“But you didn’t die. But you felt remorse, and you spent a long period of time moving around in the suite, between Chloe and Aubrey‘s room, laying down on the bed with them, hoping to die. Do you agree or disagree with that?”
“I suggest Mr. Berry that you went back in Aubrey‘s room and realized that either the police were coming or you needed to finish the job, and that’s when you stabbed yourself in the chest repeatedly, over and over. Do you agree or disagree?”
“I suggest Mr. Berry at that point, you dropped the knife, staggered into the bathroom, took off your clothes and got into the tub to die. Do you agree with that Mr. Berry?”
The trial is expected to hear from a new witness Friday.