For more than three decades, the family of a Vernon B.C., woman has been hoping for justice after their loved one was brutally murdered in her home.
On Dec. 31, 1986, Saminder Kaur Bogarh, 26, was stabbed repeatedly in the neck and head with a knife in a vicious attack that occurred while her two-year-old son was in the home.
On Thursday, her husband Paramjit Singh Bogarh pleaded guilty to one count of accessory to murder after the fact in relation to the killing.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin sentenced Bogarh to five years in prison, but credited him with three years time already served.
During Bogarh’s sentencing hearing, Crown prosecutor Ann Katrine Saettler told the court Bogarh’s brother Narinder committed the murder while Bogarh was at work.
Victim’s son left alone with her body
Bogarh returned home to find his son Manpreet alone in the house with his wife’s body, Saettler said.
Although physically unharmed, the toddler had been left to wander through his mother’s blood and left bloody footprints all over the home, she said.
Bogarh was aware Narinder had killed his wife, but he lied to the RCMP by telling officers his young son witnessed a white man attacking his mother, Saettler said.
Narinder escaped to Vancouver where he was treated in a hospital for lacerations on his hands.
He eventually fled to India, where he remains today.
After the murder, Bogarh lost custody of his son to Saminder’s family and then left Canada to live in California.
There he started a new family and became deeply involved in the local Sikh community.
In 2018, Bogarh was arrested and extradited to Canada on charges of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
A trial on those charges was scheduled to begin earlier this week, but Bogarh pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of accessory to murder after the fact.
In court on Thursday, members of Saminder’s family read victim impact statements described the shock and horror they felt when she was murdered and their ongoing grief living without her for the past three decades.
Saminder’s sister Jagminder recounted the scene she found in the home after the killing.
“I remember blood everywhere; a broken crib, a bathroom door cut apart and a huge pool of blood on the floor,” she said.
“It was devastating to think what she must have gone through in those last few moments, how much pain she must have felt, how much she must have fought and how hard she must have struggled to stay alive.”
‘I’ve never been able to wake up from this nightmare’
Saminder’s son, Manpreet Nehal, told the court as a child he was constantly afraid his father and uncle would return to kill him and he was afraid to go into a washroom alone or be alone at the schoolyard.
“They killed a helpless 26-year-old woman while her child was present. What would stop these evil, heartless killers from doing the same for me,” Nehal said.
“I’ve never been able to wake up from this nightmare.”
Despite efforts over the decades Canadian authorities have not been able to extradite Bogarh’s brother Narinder to Canada to face trial.