Man accused of murdering daughters said, ‘Kill me, just kill me,’ firefighter testifies

A firefighter who arrived at the scene of a double murder in Oak Bay testified Tuesday that the accused said the words, «Kill me, just kill me.»

Andrew Berry, centre, appears in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on April 16. A firefighter who arrived at the scene of a double murder in Oak Bay testified Tuesday that Berry said the words, ‘Kill me, just kill me.’ Felicity Don / THE CANADIAN PRESS

An Oak Bay man accused of murdering his two daughters said the words “kill me, just kill me,” when firefighters arrived at the scene, a firefighter testified Tuesday.

Andrew Berry, 45, has pleaded not guilty to the Dec. 25, 2017, second-degree murders of his daughters Chloe, 6, and Aubrey, 4.

The trial has heard that police and firefighters were called to his apartment after the mother of the girls reported that the dad had not returned the children to her.

Bradley Trenholm, an Oak Bay firefighter, said they received a call that someone was suffering from “traumatic lacerations” at the apartment. On the way to the apartment, he said they received a call providing additional information, including that there was a male with “self-inflicted” wounds and that there were two deceased children.

He said they were told they shouldn’t use lights and sirens because the mother of the children wasn’t aware of the severity of the call and they didn’t want to alarm her.

Trenholm, who has been a firefighter since 1998, told a B.C. Supreme Court jury that he told the other firefighters, some of whom had children of their own, that if they didn’t feel comfortable with the call, they wouldn’t have to attend the scene.

When firefighters arrived, they encountered several police officers outside Berry’s suite. One of the cops came out of the suite as they approached, Trenholm told the jury.

“She was very distraught. She walked towards us a few steps, turned her back towards the left-hand wall as we approached and I think she put her hands on her knees and she just said, ‘You’re too late, you’re too late.’ ”

The trial has heard that the officer in question had gone into the bedrooms and checked the pulses of the two girls to verify they were dead. The girls had been repeatedly stabbed.

Trenholm said he spoke to Oak Bay police Sgt. Mike Martin, who told him it was a crime scene and not to touch anything he didn’t have to touch. He said he turned to his firefighting colleagues and told them to wait for him while he entered the suite and checked out the situation. The scene inside the apartment was “a little chaotic,” with clothing on the floor and blood on the walls and floors, he said.

Inside the bathroom, he could see Berry’s chest rising and falling against the bathtub and his chin pushed forward on his chest with his eyes closed. Berry was breathing and had a black eye and puncture wounds to his chest.

At one point, Berry, who he referred to as his “patient,” opened his left eye and turned to look at him, which he took to be a good sign, he said.

Asked by Crown counsel Clare Jennings whether Berry said anything, he said: “Again, I’m foggy here. I think he did say something to me when I was talking to him.

“I can’t tell exactly when but I thought I heard him say, ‘Kill me, kill me, just kill me.’ ”

“Did you say anything at that point?” asked Jennings.

“I think I said, ‘We’re here to help you,’ something along those lines.”

Later, Berry repeated the words that he wanted someone to kill him, said Trenholm.

Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough, Trenholm confirmed that there were parts of the evening in question that he didn’t recall. He said that despite a statement to police immediately after the event that had him saying he knew Berry had hurt two other people, he couldn’t recall having said that.

Trenholm said he didn’t know who caused a throat wound suffered by Berry and had “no idea” who caused the injuries to the two girls.

The Crown’s theory is that Berry, who was under financial and personal stress, killed his daughters and then turned the knife on himself. The defence theory is that the police engaged in “tunnel vision” and targeted Berry to the exclusion of any other suspects.

The trial is expected to continue Wednesday.

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