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Husband facing murder charges

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Husband of slain Surrey teacher now facing murder charge in her death

Camille Bains

Canadian Press

Monday, March 12, 2007

DELTA, B.C. (CP) - A Surrey, B.C., high school teacher has been charged with second-degree murder charge in the death of his pregnant wife, also a teacher, police said Monday.

The charge against 35-year-old Mukhtiar Panghali follows an investigation spanning several months. The charred remains of 30-year-old Manjit Panghali were found beside a road in this Vancouver suburb last October, several days after she had disappeared.

Police said the accused's 27-year-old brother, Sukhvinder, is charged with being an accessory after the fact, and both men are accused of improper or indecent interference with a body.

"Today would have been my sister's due date," Manjit's sister Jasmine Bhambra told a police news conference.

"We should be in the hospital right now welcoming the newest member of our family," she said as Manjit's father held up a picture of his daughter and wiped away tears.

She said it was a bittersweet moment for her family.

"While we are relieved to some degree with recent developments we are still processing through the realities of this nightmare that we have been living since Manjit's death.

"The gruesome murder of Manjit and her unborn baby has left us and the entire local community shocked and horrified.

"Vibrant, funny, devoted, inspiring, honest and gentle, that was our Manjit who has been taken away from us so senselessly."

Police spokesman Const. Sharlene Brooks said police are recommending charges of assaulting a police officer and attempting to flee custody against Sukhvinder.

"One of our investigators was injured and he's currently recovering from surgery that he went through overnight," Brooks said.

"He sustained significant injuries to his shoulder."

Manjit Panghali's death was among three attacks on Indo-Canadian women in the Vancouver area in a two-week period last fall, two of them fatal.

The incidents led to renewed concerns about domestic violence in the South Asian community and prompted well-attended forums for people to voice their concerns.

Brooks read a statement on behalf of Chief Const. Jim Cessford.

"I extend my deepest and most sincere sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Manjit Pangali.

"The past few months have been very difficult for everyone affected by this terrible tragedy."

© The Canadian Press 2007

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