Andrew Berry wrote a three-page note to his sister in which he expressed love and tenderness for his two young daughters.
The undated note was discovered by forensic identification officers on a table in the living room of Berry’s Beach Drive apartment in the days following the murders of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey Berry on Christmas Day 2017.
That information was revealed Thursday at Berry’s second-degree murder trial at the Vancouver Law Courts. The trial has heard that police went to the apartment after Berry’s ex-wife, Sarah Cotton, complained that he had not returned the children as part of their custody agreement.
Police and firefighters found the two lifeless girls in their rooms and an injured and naked Berry lying in the bathtub. The Crown’s theory is that Berry fatally stabbed Chloe and Aubrey and then tried to kill himself.
He has pleaded not guilty to the crimes.
This week, Saanich police Sgt. Michael Duquette testified that the note addressed to Berry’s sister — whose first name is under a publication ban — was found on a table in Berry’s apartment. The jury saw a photograph of the first page of the note Tuesday but the letter was not read into the court record.
On Thursday, during cross-examination, defence lawyer Ben Lynskey asked Duquette to flip to page three and find a passage in which Berry asks his sister to: “Please influence my girls to tell it like it is. They had two rules, listen to me and protect your sister.”
Lynskey also asked Duquette to look at the last sentence of the letter. “My girls, I gave all of my spirit and soul when we were together. Adventure, seek adventure. Love doesn’t begin to describe it. Anyway, love and tenderness, Andrew.”
A heart had been drawn at the bottom of the page.
The note appeared to be handwritten and had been stapled.
Duquette testified that he did not recall finding a stapler in the apartment.
The forensic identification officer also testified that when he learned about the deaths on the night of Dec. 25 he was told he was not going to be required until the morning. Duquette said he had a very restless sleep that night thinking about what equipment would be needed.
At an early-morning briefing with the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, Duquette was told to concentrate on the forensic examination on the apartment, not the exterior of the building.
“If Mr. Berry hadn’t been found in the apartment, would you be pushing to do an examination of the exterior of the building,” Lynskey asked.
“Yes,” Duquette replied.
“The fact that Mr. Berry’s body was found in the apartment changed the course of the identification examination of the apartment,” Lynskey observed.
Photographs introduced into evidence by the Crown showed all the apartment’s windows were shut and locked.
The trial continues today.