Neighbour tells court he saw women knocking on Andrew Berry's windows

A defence witness testified that he saw two women knocking on the front window of the apartment occupied by an Oak Bay man accused of murdering his two young daughters on Christmas Day 2017.

Graham Bell, 69, was testifying at Andrew Berry’s trial. Berry is charged with the second-degree murders of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in his Beach Drive apartment; he has pleaded not guilty to the crimes.

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On Tuesday, Bell told the court he lived at 1370 Beach Dr., which looks across to the building where Berry lived. Bell testified that he was home on Dec. 25, 2017.

“It’s normally a very quiet area and on this particular day I noticed a couple of women approach the building and go over to the window,” Bell said. “They knocked on the window, apparently to try and rouse somebody or get someone’s attention inside, which was unusual to see that kind of activity on the street.”

Bell told defence lawyer Kevin McCullough that he also saw the women trying to peer under and around the blinds in an attempt to see into the apartment while they knocked on the window. The two women then walked around the side of the building.

The women arrived around 2 p.m., he said. By 5 p.m., police had arrived. Later that evening, Bell went over to speak to a police officer.

In July, Sarah Cotton, the mother of the two little girls, testified that she drove to the apartment with her mother-in-law when Berry failed to return the girls at noon as required by their custody agreement.

Cotton testified that they got out of her Land Rover and knocked on the front window. She could not see any light coming from inside the apartment.

“I knocked on the front window and knocked on the side window, near the eating area,” Cotton told the court. “Then we went to the front door to buzz and see if that might work.”

There was no sound coming from inside the apartment.

During cross-examination by McCullough, Cotton said she didn’t knock on the girls’ bedroom windows because she couldn’t hear their voices.

“I assumed they weren’t in the apartment because I couldn’t hear the girls’ voices. If they were in the apartment, I would have heard them,” she testified.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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