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Final witness called in trial of B.C. man accused of killing his daughters

A Vancouver Island man charged with murder in the deaths of his two young daughters says a suicide note police found at the scene was a month old. Andrew Berry, centre, appears in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and is on the witness stand in his own defence.
A Vancouver Island man charged with murder in the deaths of his two young daughters says a suicide note police found at the scene was a month old. Andrew Berry, centre, appears in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and is on the witness stand in his own defence. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Felicity Don

The trial of a B.C. man accused of killing his two young daughters heard from its final witness Wednesday, setting the stage for closing arguments to begin in nearly two weeks.

Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to charges of 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 was found by police in the bathtub with several stab wounds, the court has heard, which Crown has suggested were self-inflicted.

WATCH: (Sept. 3) More evidence released in Andrew Berry trial

More evidence released in Andrew Berry trial
More evidence released in Andrew Berry trial

Crown’s theory is that Berry’s gambling 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.

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Berry has testified that he was attacked by associates of a loan shark to whom he owed that debt, and woke up to find his daughters dead.

Pictures shown to the court and released to the public Tuesday showed the apartment to be a mess, with toys, garbage and unopened mail throughout. Crown has suggested the mess was a result of Berry’s depression.

READ MORE: Photo exhibits from Andrew Berry murder trial released to the public

On Wednesday, defence called Clare Bartlett, who had been contracted to take care of the apartments in Berry’s building.

Bartlett testified she had entered Berry’s apartment on Dec. 19, 2017, to check the smoke alarm and found no mess inside.

She added the apartment was “clean,” with “no garbage all over the place,” but acknowledged the power was shut off.

WATCH: (Aug. 29) Andrew Berry faces fifth day of cross examination (Warning: disturbing details)

Andrew Berry faces fifth day of cross examination
Andrew Berry faces fifth day of cross examination

Defence has said the mess shown in the pictures, which were taken by police after Berry and the girls were found, was the result of two violent struggles between Berry and his attacker on the day of the killings.

Bartlett also testified she had found a similar clean condition when she was checking on the apartment two years prior.

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When questioned by Crown, Bartlett couldn’t remember if there were piles of clothes on the floor, clutter or dirty dishes.

READ MORE: Crown paints devastating picture of morning B.C. man allegedly killed his daughters

Bartlett was the 56th witness called to testify since the start of the trial in April.

Berry himself testified for more than a week, including five days of cross-examination that culminated with Crown laying out everything they say happened Christmas morning.

Prosecutors say Berry was at his lowest point and wanted to use his suicide to deal a “psychological blow” to his ex-partner and his parents, whom they said he despised and resented. Berry denied it all.

WATCH: (Aug. 28) First look at video evidence in trial of father accused of killing daughters

First look at video evidence in trial of father accused of killing daughters
First look at video evidence in trial of father accused of killing daughters

He and his defence have admitted Berry was in serious debt and had tried to kill himself a month prior, but have said Berry was getting back on track and planned to solve his money problems in the new year.

With no more evidence to hear, the trial will now move to closing arguments, which are set to begin on Sept. 17.

The hiatus is due to a jury member being unavailable for several days.

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Barring any delays, the jury is expected to begin its deliberations on Sept. 21.