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 Oak Bay murder scene

BC Ambulance 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

Just Posted

RCMP
Police appeal to ‘sense of right and wrong’ in fatal Campbell River assault

RCMP know of witnesses to Oct. 15 attack; want them to come forward

B.C. Ferries has a mandatory mask policy on vessels and at terminals. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: No tickets for anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

West Van Police say their intention was to ‘keep the peace’ after being called to terminal

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020. (B.C. NDP photo)
Horgan fishes with Cowichan elders at Cowichan Valley campaign stop

B.C. premier talks mental health and addictions, universal income

The City of Victoria asked the organizer behind a mural in Bastion Square to removed the acronym A.C.A.B. from one of the letters. The mural reads, “More Justice, More Peace,” in a call for progress on racism and violence. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Victoria votes to remove ‘ACAB’ from Bastion Square mural

Date of removal is unknown as dialogues continue

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

Passengers seated in rows five to 11 on WestJet flight 195 on Oct. 10 may have been exposed to COVID-19. (Black Press File Photo)
UPDATE: COVID-19 exposure reported on WestJet flights two days in a row

The BCCDC is cautioning people who flew from Calgary to Victoria Oct. 19 and 11

West Shore RCMP officers delivered dumped Amazon packages on Monday. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP deliver Amazon packages dumped outside mailbox

Officers take matters into their own hands ‘before mailbox pirates got to it’

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read