File illustration by THE CANADIAN PRESS Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. He broke down on the witness stand Thursday as he recalled his version of what happened on Christmas Day 2017.

B.C. father charged with murder says he was attacked, daughters killed

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver Island man accused of killing his two young daughters says he was stabbed in the throat by an unidentified assailant in his apartment and, when he came to, his two girls were dead.

Andrew Berry has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder. He broke down on the witness stand Thursday as he recalled his version of what happened on Christmas Day 2017.

The court has already heard that police found six-year-old Chloe Berry and four-year-old Aubrey Berry stabbed to death in their beds, while Berry was found naked and injured in his bathtub.

But Berry has said he didn’t kill the girls and then try to take his own life as the Crown contends.

Instead, he said he was a problem gambler and owed thousands of dollars to a loan shark who had keys to his Victoria-area apartment.

He testified he spent the “perfect” Christmas morning with the girls, who opened their presents and then they all went tobogganing at a golf course.

When they returned to his place, Berry said he was jumped.

“Stabbed in the throat. Searing pain to the body,” he told the jury. “The next thing I know, when I come to is, I don’t know what to think.”

Berry said he went to Chloe’s bedroom and fell down unconscious in the doorway.

When he woke up and touched Chloe she was dead, he testified.

“There’s blood everywhere,” he said crying. “And I think of Aubrey at that point.”

He said he went into his room and then the kitchen looking for his other daughter. He remembers grabbing a knife, he said.

Berry said he remembers getting thrown to the floor and being stabbed again.

The next thing he remembered is waking up in the bathtub.

“I didn’t put myself there,” he said.

Police went to the home after the girl’s weren’t returned to their mother.

When Berry was found in the tub he said he heard someone say: “This is the guy who killed his kids.”

“There was a light shining on my face. That’s all I remember,” he said.

He was told at the hospital that he was being detained under the Mental Health Act, he testified.

“They thought … I killed the kids and tried to commit suicide,” he said. “When I first woke up I was handcuffed to the bed. I wanted to die.”

Kevin McCullough, Berry’s lawyer, asked him why he wanted to die.

“There was nothing left. The girls were dead and I was chained to a bed. And I just wanted to die,” he said.

“Everybody thought I killed the girls. Everybody. There wasn’t a soul who didn’t.”

Berry couldn’t identify his attacker. He testified he owed $25,000 to a loan shark named Paul, but didn’t know Paul’s last name.

The trial has already heard that police found a note at the crime scene. It was written by Berry, addressed to his sister, and detailed grievances with relatives and the girls’ mother.

“Betrayed, bullied, and miscast I set out to leave with the kids,” the letter read. ”But I thought it better for myself and kids to escape.”

The note contained Berry’s passwords and banking information.

But Berry testified Thursday that the note was old. He had written it a month earlier when he tried to kill himself, but survived.

The trial is to continue Friday.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

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