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By Kevin Diakiw Surrey Leader

Manjit Panghali was viciously assaulted before she was strangled to death, a B.C. Supreme Court heard this week.

Panghali, 30, was four months pregnant when her badly burned corpse was found beside the Deltaport Way truck route in South Delta in October 2006.

Five months later, her husband Mukhtiar, 38, was arrested for second-degree murder.

The B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster heard testimony this week from pathologist Dr. Charles Lee, who said she was strangled by her attacker. She had also sustained blunt force injuries to her pelvic area, perhaps by a punch or a kick, he said.

Lee said Manjit was set on fire after her death.

Throughout the forensic evidence about the gruesome murder of his wife, Mukhtiar Panghali showed no emotion.

 

On the second day of his trial, the court heard that Panghali offered several versions of his and Manjit's relationship, at one point saying they were happy and later telling investigators they fought regularly about his drinking.

Investigators also say Panghali said his wife had rage issues, tried to commit suicide and had an affair with another man.

The RCMP officer who took the initial missing person's report on Oct. 18 said Panghali told him the last time he saw Manjit, who was an elementary school teacher, was when she left for her pre-natal yoga class. The officer testified Panghali said his wife was depressed, that they argued over money and she often left the home to stay in hotels.

On Monday, prosecutor Dennis Murray told the B.C. Supreme Court judge evidence will show Manjit used her cellphone four times on the way to a pre-natal yoga class on Oct. 16, 2006, the day she disappeared.

Her husband used the phone with a different SIM card after her disappearance.

Panghali also moved his wife's car to create confusion about her whereabouts, Murray told the court.

The trial is expected to continue for another three weeks.