Mukhtiar Singh Panghali strangled his wife Manjit and burned her body
WARNING: This story contains graphic details of intimate partner violence.
The Parole Board of Canada has granted full parole to Mukhtiar Singh Panghali, a former B.C. high school teacher who strangled his pregnant wife and burned her body in 2006.
Panghali was initially sentenced to life in prison in 2011, without the possibility of parole for 15 years, for the killing of his wife Manjit at their Surrey, B.C., home.
Manjit was initially reported missing by her husband while she was four months pregnant in October 2006. Five days later, police found her badly-burned body on a beach near Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C.
Mukhtiar was first arrested for the crime in 2007, and lost an appeal regarding his life sentence for second-degree murder in 2012. He was granted day parole last year, and allowed unescorted temporary absences from jail in 2021.
In granting Panghali full parole, the board says they believe he would not present an undue risk to society if released, and that his release would help facilitate his reintegration into society at large.
"Since your release on day parole, you have not posed any significant management concern and appear to be reintegrating appropriately," reads a decision addressed to Panghali, released on Oct. 6. "You have several positive supports and now, you have the support of the [Correctional Services of Canada] for full parole."
The board attached conditions to Panghali's parole, which include that he report all sexual and non-sexual relationships with women to his parole officer, and not consume alcohol.
In addition, he was told not to contact Manjit's biological family — including his daughter, who was three years old at the time of her mother's slaying. She is being raised by the victim's sister.
"Reports indicate that your marriage involved allegations of violence and abuse," read the board's letter to Panghali. "Your child asked for space in 2019, but you hope to reconnect in the future."
Low risk to re-offend: parole board
In making their decision to grant Panghali full parole, the board noted that assessments indicated Panghali posed a low risk to re-offend generally.
In the decade since he was first incarcerated, the board said the 51-year-old showed remorse for his crimes — despite initially "minimizing and avoiding" his responsibility in the heinous crime for years.
"You voiced regret for your actions, appeared future-oriented and outlined your short- and long-term goals for your future," the board wrote of Panghali's parole hearing. "Your goal is to be a good father to your daughter, regardless if she resumes contact with you or not."
The parole board said Panghali's family continued to support him in jail, and his brother testified in favour of full parole.
"He committed that should you deviate or make any poor choices, that he will personally report you to the authorities," reads the board's letter.
However, the board wrote there were several factors that concerned them as they made their decision — including the fact Panghali "fantasized" about killing his wife for several months, and planned the murder despite other options being available to him.
"Serious harm criteria was met, and the victim's family and friends were likely impacted permanently, along with peripheral victims such as witnesses and first responders," wrote the board.
"The defilement of the victim's body indicates a significant callousness to your actions."
In 2021, the parole board noted the "significant trauma and loss" Manjit Panghali's family expressed in their victim impact statements. They settled a civil suit against Panghali in 2014 for $300,000.
In making their decision, the board noted that should Panghali engage in an intimate relationship with a woman, it would constitute a "high-risk situation" for him — which is why they imposed the condition that he not initiate a relationship unless authorized.
Support is available for anyone affected by intimate partner violence. You can access support services and local resources in Canada byvisiting this website. If your situation is urgent, please contact emergency services in your area.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Akshay Kulkarni is a journalist who has worked at CBC British Columbia since 2021. Based in Vancouver, he has covered breaking news, and written features about the pandemic and toxic drug crisis. He is most interested in data-driven stories. You can email him at email@example.com.
With files from Jason Proctor and Josh Grant
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca