“Look up Bains,” she said after taking the stand in B.C. Supreme Court.
Simrit Saran wanted her brother’s killer to see her face as she tried to express how his murder has affected her life and that of her family.
Simrit was delivering her victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing for Sarbjit Bains, 33, who admitted in April to killing 29-year-old Amritpal Saran in Surrey in February 2013, and two women – Karen Nabors and Jill Lyons – in New Westminster six months later.
Simrit asked Bains to imagine having to look at a mother’s eyes every day, knowing her eldest son had been killed.
“I will never forgive you,” Simrit told Bains.
Moments earlier, Amritpal’s mother Jatinder also faced Bains to express the unbearable loss of losing a child. The family placed framed photos of Amrit in front of Bains, who was seated in the prisoner’s box.
Jatinder said after the murder her world was turned upside down and she’d stare at her son’s hockey jersey collection, knowing he would never wear them again.
“I can’t smile the way I used to. I can’t feel the way I used to,” Jatinder said through tears. “Part of me is gone without my Amrit. My house was warm until you took my son away.”
Amritpal Saran’s charred body was found two-and-a-half years ago on a secluded section of Surrey’s Colebrook Road.
The court heard that Saran, Bains and his girlfriend Evelina Urbaniak were drinking and doing cocaine on the night Saran was killed. At some point, Urbaniak went to bed. Bains and Saran kept partying, but when Bains left the room briefly, he said he returned to find Saran naked in Urbaniak’s bedroom. It was then, the court heard, that Bains said “something just snapped.”
He put a fatal choke hold around Saran’s neck.
While Urbaniak wanted to call police, Bains did not and instead, the pair purchased plastic containers and gasoline and disposed of Saran’s body by the roadside.
A woman teaching her grandson to drive discovered the burned corpse and called police. It was nearly a year before Bains and Urbaniak were arrested.
At that time, Bains was also charged in the August 2013 deaths of Lyons, 45, and Nabors, 48. The women, both moms, were neighbours in the same apartment complex and were killed 13 days apart.
The court heard that Bains intended to rob the women, who advertised as escorts, and ended up choking them both to death.
Sheri Hickman adopted Lyons in 1968, and it was “love at first sight,” she said in a statement read in court.
She remembered the day her husband told her about her daughter’s death.
“He said ‘it’s Jill’ and I knew she was gone,” recalled Hickman, noting her daughter became addicted to drugs following surgery, but she was hoping to turn her life around. “That day all hope was take away from me… all belief in the goodness of the human race.”
Nabors’ youngest son said not a day goes by he doesn’t think of his mom.
“It hurts so much that she is gone. You have no idea,” he said. “Now I am lost.”
Wearing a T-shirt reading “Justice for Karen Nabors,” Katrina Cotten expressed her sadness and anger. Having discovered Nabors’ body, she said she can’t erase the horrific image from her mind.
“I hope that in time I am able to remember the good times we had,” she said, describing Nabors as the life of the party who was selfless and loved everyone around her.
“This is always painful,” she said, looking directly at Bains.
Bains pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Saran. Lawyers are recommending a 10-year sentence for that killing.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder for Nabors’ and Lyons’ deaths. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence and both defence and Crown are suggesting parole eligibility set at 18 years. Justice Miriam Maisonville will decide whether those sentences are to be served concurrently or consecutively. She reserved her decision to Sept. 30.
Bains, with long dark hair and wearing a red prison-issue jump suit, hung his head for most of the day-long hearing, but read an apology later Thursday afternoon.
“I can’t ask you to forgive me because I can’t forgive myself and I sure as hell don’t deserve it,” he said.
“I cut these lives short and robbed you of your loved ones. What I did was horrible and I cannot fix it.”
He also apologized to his own family for the pain and shame he’s caused them.
Urbaniak pleaded guilty to interfering with a dead body earlier this year in connection with Saran’s death and received a two-year conditional sentence plus three years probation.