A Surrey man who hacked and slashed his wife to death in her workplace has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Manmeet Singh was originally charged with first-degree murder in July 2011 for the death of his wife Ravinder Bhangu.
The 24-year-old woman was killed in the Punjabi language newspaper office in Surrey where she worked.
Police said Bhangu was already dead from numerous wounds by the time officers attended the Sash Di Awaaz newsroom.
Another man who tried to defend Bhangu from her attacker was also injured.
Singh was arrested at the scene.
Sgt. Jennifer Pound with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said Monday that police consider it a great success when a guilty plea is made.
Singh and Bhangu met in college in India in 2002 and married in 2008 before coming to Canada together a year later. They lived with Singh’s family in Newton. However, in the spring of 2011, Bhangu left Singh and moved in with a family friend.
Singh couldn’t cope with the rejection or the separation, the court heard. He was distraught and according to a psychiatric report, suffered moderate depression.
“His wife was his world,” said defence lawyer Brij Mohan. “Everything revolved around her.”
Mohan also said Singh was the product of growing up in a “misogynist culture” where women are often thought of by their husbands as property.
“Nothing can justify his actions,” said Mohan, but added it would be unfair not to mention the attitudes Singh was brought up with.
Singh did not apologize in court himself, but had Mohan convey his remorse.
A victim impact statement written by Bhangu’s brother on behalf of her parents in India said they not only lost their daughter, but their peace of mind the day she was killed.
“Today, our life is devoid of the charm it once had,” it read. “We miss our daughter with every breath we inhale.”
They said her death “raised doubts” about the safety of hundreds of thousands of Indian girls and that they prayed for the safety of “our daughters on foreign shores.”
Outside court, a family friend said Bhangu’s family was suffering in India.
“They’re in bad shape,” said Narinder Singh Bhullar.
Second-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence. In an agreed statement, both the defense and Crown lawyers asked that Singh, who has no prior criminal record, not be eligible for parole for 16 years. His parole eligibility will be decided June 21.
Because Singh is not a Canadian citizen, if and when he is granted full parole, he could be deported.