Man gets life for killing wife in front of cou­ple’s two chil­dren

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - HEATHER POLISCHUK

San­deep Te­hara had been back in Canada only hours when, early on a May morn­ing, her hus­band stabbed her to death in front of the cou­ple’s two young chil­dren.

On Thurs­day, Jagdish Singh Te­hara, 40, ap­peared at Regina Court of Queen’s Bench where he pleaded guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der in 38-year-old San­deep’s May 22, 2016, death.

“The hor­rific na­ture of the crime can­not be un­der­stated,” Crown pros­e­cu­tor Adam Breker told the court as he joined de­fence lawyer An­drew Hitch­cock in ask­ing Jus­tice Ellen Gunn to set pa­role in­el­i­gi­bil­ity at 12 years on the manda­tory life sen­tence.

Gunn im­posed that sen­tence, agree­ing with Breker that the im­pact on the cou­ple’s chil­dren — aged 10 and five at the time — is and will con­tinue to be enor­mous.

“Your ac­tions have changed lives for­ever,” Gunn told Te­hara.

“In killing your wife, you have left your chil­dren with­out ei­ther par­ent to care for them ... Your chil­dren will live with this hor­ror and the loss for­ever.”

The judge added, based on the de­tails she was pro­vided, San­deep’s death was not an easy one.

“This is the person who should be able to look to you for com­fort or sup­port,” Gunn said.

Court heard the cou­ple met when still liv­ing in In­dia, Hitch­cock de­scrib­ing the relationship as a “love mar­riage” rather than ar­ranged.

Hitch­cock said the cou­ple and their el­dest child, then a baby, moved to Canada about 10 years ago, and that Te­hara worked hard at mainly jan­i­to­rial jobs to sup­port his young fam­ily.

The mar­riage be­came strained in the time lead­ing to the killing, Te­hara hav­ing un­der­gone a re­cent cancer surgery and strug­gling with deep de­pres­sion.

San­deep was hav­ing her own prob­lems and Hitch­cock said she re­turned to In­dia in an at­tempt to solve them.

Breker said San­deep didn’t tell Te­hara where she was go­ing — lead­ing on March 14, 2016, to Te­hara fil­ing a miss­ing-person re­port with the Regina Po­lice Ser­vice.

Af­ter his ar­rest for the mur­der, Te­hara told po­lice his wife had been un­happy and that he be­lieved there was an­other man — al­though Breker pointed out Te­hara had no spe­cific knowl­edge of that.

In April of last year, San­deep was taken off the miss­ing person list when po­lice learned she’d spo­ken to her hus­band from In­dia. She said she was plan­ning on re­turn­ing to Regina on May 24 or 25.

She ended up com­ing back early, on May 21, land­ing shortly af­ter 6 p.m. By 7 p.m., she was back at the fam­ily’s home on Up­lands Drive and en­joy­ing a happy re­union with her chil­dren.

Te­hara told po­lice his own re­union was not a joy­ful one, and that San­deep told him she planned to stay a month and then leave with the kids.

That night, San­deep went to bed with the cou­ple’s five-year-old daugh­ter while Te­hara slept on a pull­out couch in the liv­ing room.

It’s be­lieved the mur­der oc­curred some­time be­tween 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., al­though Te­hara said he has no mem­ory of it.

De­tails were largely pro­vided by the 10-year-old boy, who awoke to the sounds of his mother scream­ing. He told po­lice he went into the bed­room to see his fa­ther re­peat­edly stab­bing his mother while the five-year-old was next to her in bed.

“The boy was yelling, ‘Daddy, please stop,’ and even tried to pull him back, but the ac­cused did not stop,” Breker said.

San­deep suf­fered 12 stab wounds, mainly to the neck and up­per chest.

After­ward, Te­hara drove the chil­dren to the home of a fam­ily friend, who called po­lice when the boy de­scribed see­ing blood on his fa­ther’s hands. Mean­while, Te­hara headed out on the Trans-Canada High­way east of Regina and tried to drive in front of a semi. He was ar­rested shortly af­ter and has been in cus­tody since.

Through a trans­la­tor, Te­hara of­fered an apol­ogy to his chil­dren, his wife’s fam­ily and to his own fam­ily.

Hitch­cock told the court his client never ex­pected he could do some­thing like this.

“To this day, he still strug­gles to be­lieve it hap­pened,” he said.

To this day, he still strug­gles to be­lieve it hap­pened

MICHAEL BELL

Jagdish Singh Te­hara ar­rives at Court of Queen’s Bench on Thurs­day to be sen­tenced for the stab­bing death of his wife, San­deep Kaur Te­hara, who had told him she planned to take their chil­dren and leave him.

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