Andrew Berry was nervous, anxious and angry when he told his neighbour that he was being investigated by the B.C. Children’s Ministry over allegations that he inappropriately touched one of his daughters, a B.C. Supreme Court jury heard Monday.
“He seemed to be more worried about losing the ability to see his children again than trying to hide anything. He was brushing his hands through his hair, as well as basically chain-smoking,” said neighbour Timo Musgrove, who was called to testify at Berry’s trial for the second-degree murder of his two young daughters on Christmas Day 2017.
“Did he tell you anything about allegations of inappropriate touching?” asked prosecutor Patrick Weir.
“That he didn’t do it,” Musgrove replied.
Musgrove, who lived across the hall from Berry, said the two men got to know each other when they met for smokes at the back of their Beach Drive apartment building.
“For the most part, it was bumping into each other,” said Musgrove. “Mostly, I was the person he’d bounce information and ideas off.”
Berry talked about what was going on in his life and the best way to go about it, Musgrove recalled. Their smoke breaks were positive and friendly. At first, Berry was working, then he tended to be home more often. “I asked him what was going on and he said he wasn’t working anymore. … He said he’d quit.”
Musgrove noticed that Berry didn’t have internet in his apartment and used wifi at coffee shops. He offered to let Berry use his internet and gave him his password.
Berry would use his cellphone, sitting in a chair outside the apartment or at the back of the building, he testified.
In July 2017, Musgrove saw eviction notices on Berry’s front door. Berry told him he was behind in rent and had the money, but had no way of paying it.
When Musgrove offered to help him, Berry asked him to put money into his B.C. Lottery Corp. Playnow account.
“He was worried that if he got the funds directly into his own account, his [ex-wife] would gain access to it. Whether it was to avoid alimony or any kind of money for his kids, I’m not aware. I don’t know if he was avoiding anything. I know that if he put it in his actual account, she would have direct access to it,” Musgrove testified.
He said he didn’t mind helping Berry for the first transaction and didn’t think much about it because Berry told him the money was for rent and food.
“But he wanted to do it more. I’m not necessarily comfortable with this,” said Musgrove, adding that he was unemployed at the time and Berry would occasionally pay him $40 for transactions.
The first transaction was in cash. On July 31, he started getting e-transfers from Berry’s sister, an RCMP officer whose name is protected by a court order.
From late July until early November, Berry’s sister transferred more than $22,000 to Musgrove’s chequing account. He deposited $17,485 into Berry’s Playnow account and withdrew $4,640 in cash for Berry.
At one point, Musgrove asked Berry where all the money was going.
“I was told to just keep on putting it through. … He seemed not necessarily angry, but he didn’t want to be asked questions.”
After six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey were killed, Musgrove went to the police with his banking records. “I honestly figured if they were going to do any digging whatsoever, it would come up,“ he said.
Musgrove, who works in a computer shop, also described how their relationship changed in early November, after he built a computer for Berry, something he does for his friends.
Musgrove came up with an estimate of $1,000 and started sourcing the computer parts. There was no real problem until picking up the mother board. The owner told him he still owed about $24 which would bring them over budget.
When Musgrove delivered the computer in early November, he explained that he couldn’t get a keyboard.
“One week later, he told me I had stolen money from him. He was wondering where the money was gone,” said Musgrove.
Berry wanted exact receipts for everything to make sure all the money was there, said Musgrove, who drove all the way to Langford to ask for the last receipt that had gone missing. He was also angry there was no keyboard.
On Nov. 17, Berry sent Musgrove a text asking him to help sell the computer.
“I wasn’t comfortable with this. I was a little annoyed that I’d put all that work into it and it ended up not being used at all. In the end, he was selling the computer for $450, so less than half.”
Musgrove ignored the text.
“I was done helping him out. I just wanted to walk away from the situation and deal with my own life.”
From that point on, Musgrove avoided Berry. He changed his wifi password and even waited in his car for 10 minutes on Christmas Eve to avoid Berry. Musgrove used the back door, then rushed to his apartment.
Musgrove told defence lawyer Kevin McCullough that Berry seemed distressed over the allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Based on his reaction at the time and the way he was acting, I highly doubt that he did that,” Musgrove testified.
The trial continues.