UPDATE: For helping a killer escape, husband of cold case Vernon murder victim gets two more years in prison | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: For helping a killer escape, husband of cold case Vernon murder victim gets two more years in prison

Paramjit Singh Bogarh
Image Credit: NRIpress.com
March 05, 2020 - 2:05 PM

For his role in protecting the man who he believed brutally murdered his wife 33 years ago, Paramjit Singh Bogarh will go to prison for two more years.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin sentenced Bogarh to five years, less three years for time served, as per the recommendation of Crown counsel and defence.  

When she asked Bogarh if he had anything to say, before offering her sentence, he declined the opportunity.

While the sentence didn't seem to bring comfort to many in the courtroom Thursday, defence Lawyer Noel O'Brien told the court Bogarh had been living in California since he left Canada shortly after his wife's murder. He never fully immigrated, however, so once he is done his sentence in a  Canadian prison he will likely be deported to India, leaving behind the woman he married after Saminder Kaur Bogarh was killed and the son they had together. He is currently a student at UCLA.

Just hours earlier, Bogarh pleaded guilty to accessory to murder after the fact. He had been scheduled to begin his trial for first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

According to a joint submission from Crown counsel and defence, Paramjit's brother, Narinder Bogarh, escaped the country with his brother's help after brutally and fatally stabbing Saminder on Dec. 31, 1986. 

Crown counsel said Bogarh intentionally misled RCMP after finding his wife dead from multiple stab wounds, with their two-year-old son near her body. He knew his brother was likely behind the fatal attack.

"Paramjit did not tell police his brother was in the area, he said his two-year-old child Manpreet said a white man had beat her, diverting attention from the brother," Crown counsel said.

Manpreet spoke only Punjabi at the time, so police couldn't get a statement from him. When Bogarh was taken to the police station, he never said he suspected his brother, who at that point was leaving Vernon on a Greyhound en route to Vancouver, where he received treatment for a wound to his hand believed to be incurred during the stabbing.

Narinder soon after boarded a plane to India, via London — something Crown said was made possible only by misdirection from Bogarh.

The misdirection and ducking from authorities lasted decades and so too has the pain of that day.

The courtroom Thursday was packed with family members who sobbed openly about the loss they suffered when a "cheerful and loving woman" was so brutally murdered and how the pain lingered every day that followed.

Saminder's younger sister Jagminder was the last person to see her sister and in a victim impact statement, she highlighted how that's weighed on her mind.

"I was close to her and I looked up to her, she can never be replaced," Jagminder said. "I think about her constantly and ask ‘why you, why has this happened, what could I have done differently.'"

The last time she saw her sister was 2 p.m., Dec. 31 1986; just hours before she was killed. She said she remembers standing on the bottom step in her sister's house and looking up at her as she was asked to stay a little longer.

"I was in a rush to leave and that last interaction has played in my mind for the last 33 years. I keep asking myself 'why didn’t I stay? How could I have changed what happened to her? Why didn’t I take her home with me? Would I also have been killed if I stayed? Could I have saved her life?'" 

She said she is left with the guilt of being the last one who could have made a difference.

The realization of the violence her sister suffered also has stayed with her all these years later.

"I remember blood everywhere, a broken crib, a bathroom door cut apart and a pool of blood on the floor," she said.

"Seeing the house in that state made me visualize her running around and fighting for her life. It’s devastating to think what she went through in the last few moments and how much pain she must have felt and how much she must have fought and how hard she must have fought to stay alive."

Manpreet Nahal, Saminder's son, also offered a victim impact statement, that offered some insight into the pain he's suffered throughout the years.

"All my life I did not get to know my own mother, the person who brought me into the world, my first love… everything about her has always been a mystery to me. 'What did her voice sound like? Did I look like her? Did we have similar personalities?"

He said that he was the only person in the house when she was killed and often wonders if that's why his mother didn't escape.

"I heard I was a momma’s boy and she would do anything for me," he said. "Did she not escape because she refused to leave me?"

"How can this be real, I’ve never been able to wake up from this nightmare to this day."

Nahal said that he'd never heard from his biological father since his mom's family took custody of him. They, he said, have been loving and accepting and for them, he never acted on the dark thoughts he suffered in the aftermath of his mother's murder.

Sentencing submissions are scheduled for 1 p.m. today and a decision is expected tomorrow, March 6.

Find past stories on this case here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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