B.C. mother recalls last words of love for two girls found dead Christmas 2017 | rdnewsNOW | Red Deer, Central Alberta

After desperately looking parks and recreation centres, Cotton and Berry’s mother went to police.

Cotton testified that she stayed on the station as officers visited Berry’s condominium. When police collected Berry’s father from her dwelling and introduced him to the station, she knew one thing was very flawed, she stated.

She recalled that two officers sat her down in a chair and held her tightly as they delivered the information.

“They said Chloe and Aubrey have been injured. I thought, ‘OK, but they’re alive,’ ” she stated by way of tears. “And then they stated, ‘They’re dead.’

“I screamed like by no means earlier than. I used to be in shock.”

Earlier Monday, Cotton testified her relationship with Berry modified after the beginning of their first youngster. By September 2013, when Berry was her common-law accomplice, their relationship was “very, very bad, very tense, very strained,” she stated.

She stated she known as police and the Children’s Ministry on a number of events, together with to report suspected inappropriate touching of Aubrey, however police found no proof the touching was sexual or legal.

A court docket determination in 2017 outlined how Berry and Cotton would share parenting tasks, together with at Christmas, and stipulated that they need to talk by e mail besides in case of emergency.

Several hours earlier than Cotton was to drop the girls off on Dec. 21, 2017, she drove by his condominium and noticed that it was darkish. Chloe informed her, “We use flashlights. It’s just like camping.”

Cotton realized Berry’s electrical energy might need been shut off as a result of he had resigned from his job at BC Ferries a number of months earlier than. She didn’t point out it when she dropped the girls off as a result of she didn’t wish to provoke him, she stated.

“I wanted to keep the peace because it was Christmas,” she stated, crying. “I was concerned for their well-being.”

She despatched him two emails asking in regards to the electrical energy, however he didn’t reply, and he or she additionally requested Berry’s mother to recommend to him that he keep together with his sister.

Cotton wept as she recalled the last time she noticed the girls alive, when she returned to Berry’s dwelling a day later to ship a beloved stuffed toy of Chloe’s. The little woman was sporting a pink dragon costume, she remembered.

Both girls requested after they might come again to her home and he or she replied that it was speculated to be three days however she hoped for sooner, she stated.

“I told them that I loved them,” she stated, sobbing.

Crown legal professional Clare Jennings has informed the jury that the daddy stabbed his daughters dozens of instances every earlier than trying to kill himself. 

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough has advised the primary police officer who responded to the scene made a mistake when he left Berry’s condominium door unattended for 5 minutes.

The officer testified he couldn’t say whether or not anybody had left the suite throughout that point.

On Monday, McCullough learn an e mail Cotton had despatched to a pal expressing fear that folks had been “after” Berry.

“My gut tells me he’s in a very bad place and may have people after him, re: gambling debts. But at least he had the brains to not take the girls this weekend,” the May 2017 e mail learn.

Cotton testified Berry didn’t inform her he had playing money owed, however she assumed he did as a result of he’d had a damaged window that wasn’t mounted for a while.

McCullough additionally learn texts and emails between Cotton and Berry despatched in June and July 2017 that the defence lawyer advised confirmed co-parenting was going “very well.” The messages mentioned faculty lunches, abdomen bugs and the girls’ day by day actions. 

Cotton stated she was “in shock” as a result of of the court docket determination giving Berry joint guardianship and he or she was doing her greatest. She stated their relationship was nonetheless strained.

Also on Monday, the court docket launched surveillance video taken at a grocery retailer and recreation centre on Dec. 24, 2017, the place the girls are seen smiling and strolling round with their dad.

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A earlier model stated a court docket determination on parenting duties got here in 2016.

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