Vancouver woman who killed
friend with a meat cleaver sentenced to life for 2nd-degree murder
By Keith Fraser - The Province
April 28, 2014
A Vancouver woman who used a meat
cleaver to inflict more than 50 blade wounds on a male friend has been
sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 12 years.
In November, a B.C. Supreme Court
jury found Nirmala Devi Arjun, 56, guilty of the January 2009
second-degree murder of William Peter Canning, 65.
The two friends entered Arjun’s
Vancouver apartment suite on the evening of Jan. 28 and his body was
found by police the following morning, after she had called 911 twice.
Canning had suffered some of the
wounds while moving through the residence, before finally collapsing
in the bathroom.
In imposing sentence, B.C.
Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden said there was no explanation for
the attack and no apparent motive. There was no evidence they were in
a romantic relationship at the time.
Court heard that Canning, whom
Arjun referred to as a poor and often homeless man, cared for her dog
when the part-time food services employee was at work.
There was some evidence that
Arjun, who had a drinking problem, had consumed alcohol at some point
during the night of the murder, but no evidence Canning was
intoxicated, the judge noted.
Arjun, who came to Canada from
Fiji following an arranged marriage and has one son and a
granddaughter, saw her marriage end in 1991 after suffering physical
abuse at the hands of her husband.
Both parents were abusive to each
other and alcohol was a contributing factor, according to her son, who
added that his mother was a different person and aggressive when she
In 2007, Arjun was designated by
the ministry of social development as a person with persistent
multiple barriers to employment and began receiving $657 a month
She worked part-time as a food
services worker from 2007 to 2011.
At issue on sentencing was
Arjun’s parole eligibility. Second-degree murder carries a mandatory
life sentence with a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 25 years of
The judge said while there was no
motive, alcohol may have been a partial explanation for the attack.
“Ms. Arjun told the probation
officer that she was very sad that Mr. Canning was gone. The probation
officer quotes her as saying, ‘Justice has been done to me and I think
about it.’ ”
Bowden said that due to the
“extremely violent” nature of the attack, Arjun should spend 12 years
behind bars before being able to apply for parole.
The Crown had asked for 12 years
of parole eligibility, while the defence called for 10 years.
The jury made no recommendation
on parole ineligibility.
Vancouver woman charged in
2009 murder she reported
Bethany Lindsay, ctvbc.ca
Thursday, July 29, 2010
More than 18 months after she
reported his death, a 52-year-old Vancouver woman has been charged
with the murder of William Canning.
Nirmala Arjun was taken into
custody Thursday morning and has now been charged with second-degree
murder in the death of her 65-year-old acquaintance.
Const. Lindsey Houghton told
ctvbc.ca that Arjun called police to report Canning's death in an
apartment in the 2100-block of Cassiar Street on January 29, 2009.
She was taken into police custody
for questioning at the time, but released later the same day.
"Homicide investigations are
typically very complex and can take a long time, but now we've made an
arrest, and we're very happy about that," Houghton said.
He added that police are not
releasing the manner in which Canning was killed.
Arjun is scheduled to appear in
Vancouver provincial court on Friday.