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Surrey wife killer ordered to pay $600K to couple's young daughter

Manjit Panghali was murdered by her husband Mukhtiar Panghali (below) in 2006. A court decision this week orders Mukhtiar to pay about $600,000 in damages to the couple
Manjit Panghali was murdered by her husband Mukhtiar Panghali (below) in 2006. A court decision this week orders Mukhtiar to pay about $600,000 in damages to the couple's young daughter.
— image credit: File Photo / The Leader

The daughter of Surrey mom Manjit Panghali, who was murdered by her husband in 2006, has been awarded more than $600,000 in compensation.

Jasmine Bhambra and Tarminderpal Basra, Manjit's sister and brother, sued Mukhtiar Pangali on behalf of his daughter, Maya Kaur Panghali. Bhambra has had sole custody of Maya since late 2007.

Mukhtiar, a Surrey high school teacher, was convicted in February 2011 of killing 31-year-old Manjit, who was pregnant with the couple's second child. He is currently serving a life sentence for second-degree murder.

Maya was three when her mom was murdered and Bhambra and Basra launched the legal action to help care for the girl, who's now 10, and provide an inheritance from her mother's estate. Manjit was a school teacher in Surrey.

In a ruling Wednesday (April 16), B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Punnett awarded $54,700 for past loss of dependency, $165,000 for future loss of dependency, $129,000 for past loss of household assistance and child care, $172,000 for future loss of household assistance and childcare, $35,000 for loss of guidance, and $58,600 worth of public guardian and trustee fees.

"The child has lost the care, love and support of her mother who would have provided guidance throughout her youth into young adulthood…" Punnett wrote in his decision.

Manjit went missing on Oct. 18, 2006 after attending a yoga class. Her husband didn't report her missing until 26 hours later, and then tearfully pleaded for his wife's return during a police press conference.

Manjit's charred body was discovered in South Delta just days after and Mukhtiar was charged with her murder five months later. During his trial, it was revealed Mukhtiar strangled Manjit before being caught on store video surveillance buying a lighter and newspaper.

While there are other lawsuits in connection with the case that Bhambra and Basra hoped to merge with this one, Punnett said it was only within his purview to rule on the damages due under the Family Compensation Act. Bhambra and Basra also have claims related to the Panghali's matrimonial home, as well as an investment property in Surrey.

"I agree with the plaintiffs that Mr. Panghali’s conduct was reprehensible," wrote Punnett. "Indeed it is difficult to envision more reprehensible conduct than that of the defendant in murdering his wife and their child’s mother and burning her body in an effort to escape detection. However, in the circumstances I do not think that this is a proper basis for an award of special costs."

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