Family of Julie Pascall leaves Surrey court friday

Surrey mom’s killer given 12-year jail sentence

Yosef Jomo Gopaul pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the killing of hockey mom Julie Paskall in 2013

The man who killed a hockey mom in Newton two-and-a-half years ago has received a 10-year prison sentence for the crime.

On Friday (May 22), Yosef Jomo Gopaul, 28, was also given a two-year sentence for the violent robbery of a different woman two weeks before the Dec. 29, 2013 killing of Julie Paskall.

Gopaul was originally charged with second-degree murder.

However, evidence revealed Paskall had a heart condition and suffered a heart attack, likely brought on by a blow to the head that forced her to the ground, where she fractured her skull.

Gopaul pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

In an agreed statement of facts read by Crown counsel Wendy Stephen, Gopaul approached Paskall on Dec. 29, 2013. Paskall had driven her Dodge Caravan into the Newton Wave Pool parking lot at 7120 136B St. to pick up her son at the Newton ice arena.

As she walked toward the arena, she was struck by Gopaul on the back or side of her head with a 1.2 kg (2.6 pound) rock, about the size of a grapefruit, causing her to fall face down in the parking lot with her arms by her side.

She remained there for 20 minutes before someone found her there, virtually lifeless.

Gopaul had grabbed her purse with lottery tickets and a small amount of money (estimated to be $20 or $30) and ran off.

Paskall was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital and put on life support.

Two days later, medical staff determined she was brain dead. She was later removed from life support at the family’s request and died.

Based on DNA evidence from the rock, police suspected Gopaul. They ran a so-called “Mr. Big” operation on Feb. 11 where police undercover operatives pose as a crime bosses.

The investigators got Gopaul to lead them to where he threw the purse into a cedar bush at 139 Street and 76 Avenue.

Gopaul consistently said he had no intention of seriously hurting Paskall. He just wanted knock her out long enough to take her purse.

He also told the “crime boss” that he robbed another woman two weeks earlier. Evidence at trial showed the slight Asian woman suffered a broken nose and several other injuries when Gopaul took  her cell phone and some money.

Gopaul was arrested on May 23, 2014.

Stephen pointed to several aggravating factors in Gopaul’s case, including that he preyed on vulnerable people and “lived a life of crime” since he was 16.

Mitigating factors included his guilty plea, a troubled background and that he is remorseful.

Prior to Gopaul’s sentencing, family and friends of Paskall delivered emotional victim impact statements.

Paskall’s husband, Al, delivered a tearful statement to the courtroom, saying a day doesn’t go by where he doesn’t miss his wife of 30 years.

They were just getting ready for retirement, where they could enjoy each other’s company fully, he said.

“In one selfish act, Mr. Gopaul took our future away – what gave him the right to do that?” Paskall asked. “I still wake up thinking she’s right there beside me. I catch myself talking to her.

“What’s my life now? I have no life, I just exist.”

He said he dreams of the chance to have another moment with her.

“I would give everything I have in life for five more minutes with her, I would tell her a thousand more times how much I loved her,” he said.

Julie’s daughter Rhiannon, who has cerebral palsy, also gave an emotional statement to the court.

“She was my best friend and my hero,” Rhiannon said. “From the time that I was born, my mom dedicated her entire life to me as well as my siblings.”

While still and expressionless for most of the sentencing hearing, Gopaul was visibly upset hearing the victim impact statements.

He issued an apology to the family from the prisoner’s box.

“I never thought the blood of someone else would be on my hands,” Gopaul said,  “I know most of you hate me, but I have to let you know how truly sorry I am.”

Crown counsel spokesperson Neil MacKenzie said outside court that there was no choice but to reduce the sentence and secure a guilty plea.

Because it was ultimately Paskall’s heart condition that caused her death,  and intent would be difficult to prove, a murder charge would likely be unsuccessful, MacKenzie said.

Gopaul was given credit for the 18 months he’s already spent in pretrial custody, leaving 10-and-a-half years remaining of his sentence.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read