The man who shot his 18-year-old ex-girlfriend and dumped her body in a Vancouver alleyway has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years, a B.C. Supreme Court justice has ruled.
Ninderjit Singh, 35, shot Poonam Randhawa as she sat in the back of his friend's car in 1999.
The court heard that Singh held a gun to Randhawa's head and accused her of cheating on him. When she said, "I'm not scared, go ahead and shoot me," he did.
He then fled to California, where he changed his appearance and was able to evade police for more than a decade. He was eventually arrested in 2011.
He was extradited to Canada and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in March.
The defence was asking for eligibility for parole after 10 years, but the Crown argued for 17 to 20 years.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler said the Randhawa family had been denied closure for many years, and feared for themselves and others knowing Singh was out there.
Butler said the remorse Singh expressed in court was "too little and far too late."
Randhawa's family members say they are satisfied with the sentence given her murderer.
"For 14 years, we’ve gone through tremendous suffering, especially while he was on the run our lives have been on hold," Randhawa's cousin, Harry, said outside the court.
"But as of today we move forward as a family... We want to be part of the change to make sure that women in our community are given a strong voice," he added.
Life on the run
The court heard that Singh crossed the Canada-U.S. border just hours after the murder, with a friend who was unaware that the shooting had happened. Singh lived in Washington State and in the Los Angeles area for about 12 years.
'Those members of his family that helped him evade and hide and run and change his identity all those years, we hold them just as responsible for this'—Harry Randhawa
While in L.A., he married an 18-year-old woman and had two children. Singh's wife had no idea of his previous life, the court heard. She started sobbing when the sentence was handed down.
Undercover police tracked Singh down two years ago, when he was looking for a doctor to remove his fingerprints.
The L.A. Police Department had his prints on file since 1998, when Singh got into an altercation with a customer at a gas station where he worked.
The woman wanted to pay for $1 worth of gas using cents. An argument ensued, and Singh pulled a gun on her, the court heard.
Vancouver Police say they will consider launching an investigation into whether Singh had help eluding police for 12 years.
The court heard how he had help fleeing to California and that his mother had regular contact with him while he was there, visiting twice when his children were born.
The Randhawa family says if Singh had help evading police, more charges should be laid.
"Those members of his family that helped him evade and hide and run and change his identity all those years, we hold them just as responsible for this, and we just pray for that now," Harry Randhawa said.