Wife-killer Panghali sentenced to 15 years minimum

Former Surrey, B.C., teacher Mukhtiar Panghali has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years for killing his pregnant wife.
Mukhtiar Panghali listens to the prosecutor during his trial. in which he is charged with murdering his wife. ((CBC))

Former Surrey, B.C., teacher Mukhtiar Panghali has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years for killing his pregnant wife.

The sentence was handed down in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on Friday morning. He was convicted last month of second-degree murder in the killing of Manjit Panghali.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes said aggravating circumstances in the case include that the crime was committed against a spouse, the victim was more vulnerable because she was pregnant and the murder was committed in couple's home, which is considered the "safest of places."

Speaking outside the courtroom, Manjit's sister, Jasmine Bhambra, applauded the sentence but said the crime has devastated the entire family.

"We've lost so much — I've lost my niece, I've lost my sister, we've lost our friend . … I've lost my brother-in-law."

Bhambra said Panghali still denies killing Manjit.

"I would like him to admit what he did. I would like him to admit he did it … [but] I don't think he ever will. And he says he's been vilified by the media — 'I'm sorry, you killed your pregnant wife.'"

Bhambra cried as she spoke about how much Manjit's seven-year-old daughter Maya misses her mother.

The burned remains of the 31-year-old, who was four months pregnant, were found in October 2006.

At a hearing last week in B.C. Supreme Court, defence lawyers argued the first-time offender should spend 10 to 13 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.

The Crown pushed for at least 20 years, saying Panghali showed no regard for his wife, his unborn child or the couple's young daughter.