Father charged with murder of his two young daughters

Oak Bay's Andrew Berry facing two counts of second-degree murder

Andrew Berry has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of his daughters.

The bodies of Chloe, 6, and Aubrey, 4, were found by Oak Bay police in Berry’s Beach Drive apartment about 5 p.m. on Dec. 25.

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The Victoria court registry did not have any information about when Berry’s first court appearance would be.

Family friend Trisha Lees said the girls’ mother, Sarah Cotton, is planning Chloe and Aubrey’s funeral and working to establish a memorial fund in their name. The date of the funeral has not been made public.

Frank Cotton, Sarah Cotton’s uncle, said that Berry should not have been granted overnight or unsupervised visits with his daughters.

Court records show that the Ministry of Children and Family Development opened investigations into Berry in 2015 and 2016 after concerns were raised about his parenting.

A neighbour said child protection authorities were contacted in December after electrical service in Berry’s Oak Bay apartment was cut off.

Cotton is disappointed that the 2015 and 2016 ministry investigations, which resulted in supervised visits for one or two weeks, appeared to “say things were all right.”

“It was glaring them in the eyes,” he said. “That’s the pitiful part of the whole thing. It should be looked into further.”

Cotton hopes the case will result in a change to the family law system.

Detectives from the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit continue to investigate the girls’ deaths.

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties of Oak Bay police thanked investigators for their work.

“From the moment the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit arrived, they have been compassionate, professional, and diligent,” Bernoties said.

“We’ve been engaged with them throughout this investigation and we’re very grateful for their tireless effort.”


ldickson@timescolonist.com

kderosa@timescolonist.com   


About the charges

Second-degree murder

This is a deliberate killing carried out without planning that does not fall under any of the categories of first-degree murder.

The minimum sentence is life in prison with no parole for 10 years. Sentences can be as long as life in prison without parole for 25 years.

The date of parole eligibility is at the judge’s discretion.

This may best be viewed as the middle ground between first-degree murder and manslaughter.


First-degree murder

This is planned and deliberate, involves the killing of a police officer or other person employed to maintain the public peace, or is a death caused during the commission of a hijacking, sexual assault, kidnapping or act of terrorism.

A conviction of first-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

Offenders who are paroled remain on parole for the rest of their life, even after their release from prison, meaning they must report to a parole officer and are subject to the conditions of their parole.


Manslaughter

Manslaughter is a homicide committed without the intention to cause death, although there might have been an intention to cause harm.

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