A Surrey man who murdered his wife then set her body on fire has been granted full parole by the Parole Board of Canada.
The board rendered its decision on Oct. 6.
Mukhtiar Singh Panghali, now 51, strangled his pregnant wife of nine years Manjit Panghali, age 31, to death on Oct. 18, 2006 after she’d returned home from a prenatal yoga class, staged the discovery of her car in Whalley, burned her body on a remote beach along DeltaPort causeway in South Delta and then delayed for as long as he could to lodge a missing persons complaint with the Surrey RCMP.
“The Board grants full parole effective immediately. It is the Board’s opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released on full parole and that your release will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen,” his parole board document indicates.
Panghali was found guilty of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body, following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. Sentenced to life in prison, he began serving his sentence in March 2011 with no eligibility to apply for parole until he’d served 11 years. He got four years credit for time served while awaiting trial, otherwise it would have been 15 years.
“You have since admitted to having a desire to murder the victim prior to the date of the index offence, and planned to commit the murder beforehand,” the parole board noted in its Oct. 6 decision.
“Your goal is to be a good father to your daughter, regardless if she resumes contact with you or not,” his parole board document indicates.
Panghali and his wife were Surrey school teachers – he taught physics at Princess Margaret Secondary and she taught at North Ridge Elementary. Manjit was four months pregnant when she was murdered, and their daughter was three years old at the time.
“Aggravating your risk is the nature and severity of the index conviction. The extreme escalation of violence resulting in the death of the victim, along with an unborn child, are highly concerning to the Board. Particulars of your conviction also aggravate your risk: you fantasized about killing your victim for several months prior to the offence, planned the murder and followed through on these plans despite several other non-lethal options that were available to you,” the document reads.
Among mitigating factors, the board noted, is that Panghali had no prior criminal history, is now in his 50s “which should also serve as a protective factor,” and has made “positive progress” by completing “risk relevant” programs.
“You are able to verbalize insight into your personality and past behaviours, and, were eventually able to disclose the full extent of your responsibility and offending behaviour after years of minimizing or avoiding same,” the parole board observed.