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