VICTORIA, B.C. —
A father who killed his four- and six-year-old daughters on Christmas Day in 2017 will have to serve 22 years before he’s eligible for parole.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper told Andrew Berry that he committed heinous crimes against his daughters as she sentenced him today in Victoria.
“The girls were killed in their own beds, in their own home, where they had every expectation to be safe,” Gropper said.
A jury convicted Berry of second-degree murder in September in the violent deaths of his daughters, Aubrey and Chloe Berry.
Second-degree murder brings an automatic life sentence, but Gropper had to determine Berry’s parole eligibility. Gropper says Berry will serve the sentences concurrently.
The trial heard each girl had been stabbed dozens of times and Berry was found naked and unconscious in the bathtub of his Oak Bay apartment suffering from stab wounds to his neck and throat.
The girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, released a statement after the sentencing saying she respected the judge’ decision.
“Chloe and Aubrey lost their lives in the most brutal way at the hands of their father, I have lost the life that I loved and knew, and I do not believe that Andrew, who has shown no remorse and a complete disregard for the lives of our daughters, should ever get a second chance.”
Berry is in shackles. Wearing a red sweat suit. He is in the prisoners box looking down. @ctvnewsvi
— Robert Buffam (@CTVNewsRob) December 19, 2019
Cotton also thanked police, the Crown prosecutors, the community of Oak Bay and first responders for their “strength, bravery, courage and sensitivity throughout this horrific tragedy.”
She criticized the legal system and the Ministry of Children and Family Development, accusing them of failing her family leading up to the girls’ deaths by not acting on concerns she raised about Berry when her children were in his care.
“I did everything in my power to keep my children safe,” she said.
“I can only hope that changes will be made throughout the family law system so that tragedies such as ours do not happen again.”
Berry claimed at his trial that he and the girls were attacked because he owed money to a loan shark.
The Crown told jurors the motive was anger towards Berry’s ex-partner, who he thought was going to end their joint custody agreement.
His lawyer told the sentencing hearing that Berry maintains he did not kill the girls.
Ray Bernoties, deputy chief with the Oak Bay police, said outside court that the deaths of the girls devastated residents.
“Two precious little girls were taken from our community. We’ll move on, together,” he said, holding back tears.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2019.