VANCOUVER – An Indo-Canadian man from Surrey convicted of second degree murder for killing his pregnant wife in 2006 has lost his appeal.
BC’s high court says the trial judge made no errors in the original sentence of Mukhtiar Panghali and dismissed his appeal.
Panghali was sentenced last year to life prison with no chance of parole for 15 years for strangling his wife, Manjit Panghali, and leaving her burned body on a beach along Deltaport Way.
Manjit’s sister Jasmine Bhambra says the family is very happy with the court’s decision.
“You never know what the outcome is going to be, but now we know and it’s just a huge, huge relief,” she says. “He’s exactly where he needs to be and we can just move on with our lives.”
After time served, Panghali will be able to apply for parole in 11 years.
At the original sentencing hearing, the judge said there were a few mitigating factors in this case, particularly that Mukhtiar Panghali is a first-time offender, but did note that this case was particularly chilling because Panghali was deliberate in his actions when he killed his wife without considering the appalling nature of his crime.Mukhtiar Panghali prior to his being charged in the 2006 murder of his pregnant wife, Manjit Panghali, pictured below with her daughter.
Thursday will mark exactly six years since Manjit Panghali died at the hands of her husband.
And while the day will forever be a dark one for her sister Jasmine Bhambra, she was finally able to take a deep breath this week, knowing that Mukhtiar Panghali will remain in prison.
Bhambra said her greatest concern was for Manjit and Mukhtiar’s nine-year-old daughter, who has been in her care since the murder.
“The biggest thing for me, and always has been, is Maya. If (the appeal) didn’t go the way that we wanted, then he could take her and that would not only ruin her life but our lives,” she said, choking back tears. “There’s a child’s life at stake.”
During his murder trial, the court saw video of Mukhtiar buying a lighter and newspaper at a local gas station and heard evidence that he used Manjit’s cellphone for months after her death, despite the fact she took it to her yoga class the night she died. That showed Mukhtiar was the last to see her, the judge said.
Bhambra is also launching her website, www.inspiredbymanj.com Thursday. It will include Manjit’s story and who she was, says Bhambra, who will share her own life experiences. Over time, she says, it will become a place for people to connect with one another online and find inspiration.