Edmonton man sentenced for brutal murder of former girlfriend

Silva Koshwal, 43, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years for the August 2015 murder of his former girlfriend, Nadine Skow.

Warning: graphic and disturbing details

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

An Edmonton man was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years for the "grotesque and horrifying" murder of his former girlfriend.

In August 2015, Silva Koshwal stabbed Nadine Skow 101 times, then used a knife to remove some of her organs. Skow was killed in her bedroom during a frenzy that could have lasted as long as three hours. The majority of the stab wounds were inflicted while she was still alive.

At the time, a seasoned homicide detective called it the worst crime scene he had ever seen. Another responding police officer took stress leave after witnessing the aftermath of the brutality. 

"It was a grotesque and horrifying incident from start to finish," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Sterling Sanderman told court Thursday.

"The savagery displayed by Mr. Koshwal is beyond comprehension."

The judge acknowledged the case has taken a toll on everyone who's been involved with it. 

"It has been a very difficult case," Crown prosecutor Laurie Trahan said outside court. "First responders show up at the scene. They see some horrific things, but at least they get to move on. I've had this file sitting on my desk for over four years now." 

Crown prosecutor Laurie Trahan speaks to reporters outside the Edmonton courthouse. (Nathan Gross/CBC)

Koshwal was found guilty in August of second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body.

Trahan had asked the judge for a period of parole ineligibility of 20 to 25 years.

"I'd hoped for more, but I'm pleased with 18 years," Trahan said, "knowing Mr. Koshwal will be off the streets of Edmonton for a good long time."

The victim's father, Harvey Skow, was also satisfied with the sentence imposed by Sanderman.

"We got him. That's good," Skow said outside court. 

Koshwal, 43, has been in custody for the past four years, which means he will be eligible to apply for parole 14 years from now. He showed no reaction in the prisoner's box when the judge sentenced him. 

He was born in South Sudan and came to Canada in 1997. He has been a landed immigrant for 22 years and will automatically face deportation upon completion of his sentence. 

'Celebrate her life' 

Court heard 15 victim impact statements Thursday. Sanderman said they allowed him to form a more complete picture of Skow, who died at age 38. 

Nadine Skow with her parents Harvey and Helen on the last vacation they took together in 2014 in Mexico. (Helen Skow)

"She was a cherished daughter," Sanderman said. "She was a caring and loving individual. She was a true contributor to her community. Her death was a true loss to many." 

The judge urged Skow's parents to try to move forward. 

"We've seen how much your daughter meant to those who truly knew her," Sanderman told them. "In the future, you should celebrate her life and the positive effect it's had upon many rather than dwelling upon her horrific death. 

"Take comfort in the fact that you and your husband raised her well and she lived a good life."

Nadine Skow's mother, Helen Skow, included this photo of her daughter in her victim impact statement presented to the court. (Helen Skow/Court exhibit)

Sanderman thanked the friends and family members who included photos with their victim impact statements, calling it "a very, very warm, comforting picture." 

When asked outside court if he had anything he wanted to say about his daughter, Harvey Skow responded emotionally. 

"We love her," he said. "We miss her."


Janice Johnston

Court and crime reporter

Janice Johnston was an investigative journalist with CBC Edmonton who covered Alberta courts and crime for more than three decades. She won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award in 2016 for her coverage of the trial of a 13-year-old Alberta boy who was acquitted of killing his abusive father.