Sisters four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry were found dead in their father’s apartment in Oak Bay on Christmas Day. Their father Andrew Berry is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in their deaths. (Submitted photo)

Court hears paramedic feared for safety of first responders at Vancouver Island murder scene

Paramedic told everyone to ‘get out’ after hearing the word ‘kill’ from the bathroom

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details and graphic content.

Paramedic Hayley Blackmore testified Tuesday that she was concerned for her safety and others, and told first responders to “get out” of Oak Bay father Andrew Berry’s apartment after she heard the word ‘kill’ uttered in a deadpan voice.

Blackmore, a BC Ambulance advanced care paramedic who attended the call with partner Connor Ridout, took the stand at the beginning of the week in the trial for Berry, 45, who is charged with second degree murder in the deaths of his daughters four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry, both discovered in his Beach Drive apartment on Christmas Day 2017. Berry has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

READ ALSO: Trial begins for Oak Bay father charged in Christmas Day deaths of two daughters

On that evening, Blackmore was cooking Christmas dinner for other paramedics on shift. She said her Yorkshire puddings were just about finished when a supervisor told them a call had come in that sounded “unpleasant.”

Shortly after, pagers started beeping in the room.

Blackmore appeared calm as she sat on the stand in the Vancouver Law Courts courtroom.

She occasionally pushed her long, straight brown hair from one side of her neck to the other as she described how she and her partner Connor Ridout drove to Beach Drive around 6 p.m. with the knowledge that two children were seriously injured in the apartment.

When they arrived, the two paramedics decided Ridout would check on the patient in the bathtub and Blackmore would be going into the bedrooms.

Blackmore described the apartment unit as quiet, dark and “quite messy and disheveled” with objects all over the floor and blood visible on the walls. She entered the first bedroom across from the front entrance and saw a child on the bed, facing away from the door, with tangled, bloody hair.

A police officer held a flashlight in the room – the single source of light – as Blackmore checked the girl’s pulse and determined she was dead. Touching her neck, Blackmore said the child was stiff and cold, and her whole body rocked when Blackmore touched her shoulder.

Blackmore was only in the room for about two minutes before she went into the other bedroom and checked the pulse of the second child, also laying on the bed with a mess of bloody, tangled, blonde hair. The second child was also stiff and cold, she testified.

“I reached the determination that they were both deceased so we did not attempt any life-saving measures because they would have been futile,” Blackmore testified.

After consulting with Ridout, who had been tending to Berry in the unit’s bathroom, the paramedics decided to remove Berry from the unit.

“The plan was to bring him out into the hallway so we could treat him,” she said. “You can’t treat someone in a bathroom, because there’s no way to get in there.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay Sgt. struggles through emotional testimony in double murder trial

But shortly after, Blackmore said she heard a male voice say the word, “kill” in a deadpan voice. Concerned for her and the other first responders’ safety, she described using a “stern” and “authoritative” voice to ask everyone to get out of the unit.

“I just all the sudden was worried about the other paramedics and everyone’s safety,” she said, testifying that although she hadn’t heard any mention of a weapon, she knew from the injuries on the girls that there had been a weapon in the apartment at some point in time.

She said she sent someone to get restraints, because she had heard the word “kill” from the bathroom and “didn’t get a context for it.”

“I wasn’t sure if he said, ‘kill me’ or ‘I’m going to kill you’…” she said. “I just wasn’t sure. And I was, again, concerned for our safety so I was trying to think ahead. I thought he may need to be restrained, so I sent somebody to get restraints so we would have them handy in case we needed them.”

The restraints were never used, said Blackmore.

Crown prosecutor Claire Jennings asked how Blackmore felt at the time she left the apartment.

She paused, then said she felt “sick and overwhelmed.”

Berry was removed from the unit shortly after. Blackmore said he was shirtless, cool to the touch, had a black eye, a lateral laceration to his neck and multiple wounds on the left side of his chest.

She said his wounds didn’t appear to be “actively or profusely” bleeding.

Co-defence counsel Ben Lynskey asked Blackmore if she and Ridout had discussions about the incident after it ended.

Blackmore said yes, they had, but mostly in regards to their “feelings.”

“Me and [Ridout] have had conversations about it, but they mostly have been pertaining to our feelings, how we’re feeling about it,” she said. “Because we’re friends and we’re supportive.

“We had two very different experiences…once we got there we didn’t spend very much time together on that call.”

Lynskey wasn’t satisfied – asking Blackmore if she was trying to mislead the jury to believe the two never discussed the incident.

“I was trying to give the impression that we didn’t talk about specifics,” she said.

READ ALSO: Juror dismissed from Andrew Berry double murder trial



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gas prices rising across the Okanagan, Shuswap

Prices at some gas stations in the Okanagan sit around 115 cents a litre

Kelowna RCMP pull over vehicle with no licence plate, find drugs inside

Officers also responded to a white van in the West Kelowna Walmart parking lot with no insurance

New restaurant set to open across Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Diner Deluxe has had some setbacks, including a pandemic, but they’re ready to welcome guests

Vehicle brings down light post on Westside Road Thursday evening

Incident occurred at the intersection of Westside Rd. and Seena Rd. at 7:50 p.m.

Youth filmmakers tackle technology addiction, relationships, cyber-bullying

The Kelowna couple won a grant from Telus STORYHIVE

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

LETTER: Be aware of telephone scam

Call about vehicle warranty raised suspicions

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Strong thunderstorms expected for Shuswap, Okanagan this weekend

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement with storms expected late Saturday

B.C. woman launches First Nations search, rescue and patrol program

Linda Peters envisions trained searchers ready to go at moment’s notice in each B.C. First Nation

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Most Read