Edmonton

Silva Koshwal found criminally responsible in murder of ex-girlfriend

Silva Koshwal will go to prison rather than a psychiatric hospital after an Edmonton court found him criminally responsible for the second-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Thursday. 

Warning: This story contains graphic details some readers may find disturbing

Silva Koshwal at the time of his arrest in August 2015. (Edmonton Police Service/Court exhibit )

Silva Koshwal will go to prison after an Edmonton court found him criminally responsible for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Thursday. 

In August 2015, Koshwal stabbed Nadine Skow 101 times at her Edmonton apartment, then mutilated her body. He removed her uterus, ovaries and heart, then wrote the letter A in blood on the bedroom wall. 

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman convicted the 42-year old of second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body on Monday. 

But the defence made an application for Koshwal to be found not criminally responsible, which would have seen him transferred to a psychiatric hospital if successful. 

The defence produced evidence from Edmonton forensic psychologist Leslie Block that concluded Koshwal should be found not criminally responsible. 

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Roger Brown was a Crown witness who reached the opposite conclusion.

Both mental health experts diagnosed Koshwal with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. But Block went further, concluding Koshwal also suffered from psychosis, dissociative states and flashbacks. 

Justice Sanderman, handing down his decision on the application Thursday, said Brown's testimony had stronger and more robust information. 

Brown was able to access medical records going back to 2006 and had eight clinical interviews with Koshwal in a hospital setting. 
Harvey Skow, the victim's father, outside the Edmonton courthouse on Thursday. He says the court's decision offers closure for the family. (Jordan Omstead/CBC)

Block, meanwhile, conducted three clinical interviews at the Edmonton Remand Centre. He also relied on general studies to make specific diagnoses about Koshwal, which Sanderson said amounted to a "theoretical construct." 

"He had to rely on information from Koshwal, who he conceded was a questionable historian," Sanderman said. 

Koshwal now faces an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years.

A sentencing date was not set in court Thursday. 

Closure and justice, victim's family says

Harvey Skow, the victim's father, says Thursday's decision provides some closure to the family four years after the murder. 

"We got him, finally. What a legal process," he told reporters outside the courthouse Thursday. 

"She's gone. But it is a big closure knowing there's still justice, but it took a long time." 

Skow said his daughter was a hard worker and a social butterfly. She would often call him several times a day just to chat. 

"You miss that now," he said.

With files from Janice Johnston and Jordan Omstead