Man accused of murdering wife claimed she abused him
In the second day of trial for a man accused of murdering his pregnant wife, a B.C. court heard that he told investigators she cheated on him and was abusive.
Mukhtiar Panghali is on trial for the second-degree murder of his wife Manjit, who was four months pregnant when she was killed in 2006.
It wasn't until five months after she was reported missing that Panghali was charged and accused of strangling his wife and burning her body.
B.C. Supreme Court heard on Tuesday that Panghali had offered several versions of his relationship with his wife in the days after he reported her missing.
At one point, he told officers that their life together was happy, but he later suggested that they fought regularly about his drinking and family.
Panghali claimed that Manjit had rage issues, tried to commit suicide and was having an affair with another man.
Const. James Bennett testified that he visited the couple's home to take a missing person's report for Manjit on Oct. 26, 2006.
Panghali told the Mountie he had last seen his wife on Oct. 18 as she left for a yoga class. Bennett says that Panghali told him that his wife was depressed, that they argued over money and that she had left the family home in the past to stay in hotels.
Bennett testified that Panghali appeared calm and nonchalant, although the officer admitted he didn't take note of the man's demeanour in his report.
A day after that visit, Panghali spoke in a calm, even tone during a videotaped interview with RCMP.
He described how his wife would get angry with him, and told Const. Lindsay O'Ruairc that he was being abused.
"Domestic violence is usually man against woman," he said. "Now it's woman against man."
He said that he was bigger than his wife, and could throw her across the room if he wanted to, but didn't. "I'm not aggressive," he said.
He then began to cry and referred to his wife in the past tense: "I loved her."
Manjit's body wouldn't be discovered for another two days.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington