Man, 64, sentenced in connection with 28-year-old Toronto cold case

Nearly 28 years after the death of Surinder Singh Parmar in a gas station washroom, a 64-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Sixty-four-year-old Rupert Richards was arrested in 2015 and initially charged with first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but with time served, has seven years and nine months left.

“Would I have liked to have seen a higher sentence? Would I have liked to have seen a first-degree murder? Yes, I would have,” said Detective Sergeant Stacy Gallant.

“With all the factors we have to take in, we have to weigh those things against having this man go through trial and walking free, and being acquitted on a technicality or due to a witness not being available because they’ve passed away,” Gallant told Global News.

“Mr. Richards — although he got away with it for 25 years, hopefully he was looking over his shoulder for those 25 years.”

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Richards, who is a permanent resident of Canada, now also faces deportation to his native Jamaica once he is done serving his sentence.

Parmar was killed in an alleged robbery attempt.

On Tuesday, the court heard how the father of two was stabbed 34 times as he defended himself against two assailants. An arrest warrant has been issued for a second suspect, who police say now resides in Jamaica.

It is believed that on November 18, 1990, between 11 pm and 1:20 am, Parmar was followed into the washroom at the Penny Gas Bar, which used to be located at 1039 Danforth Road, by two men. One of them was armed with a knife.

READ MORE: Toronto man arrested 25 years after fatal stabbing of father-of-two

The court heard that while Richards was aware of the other man being in possession of a weapon, he did not believe it would be used.

Minutes later, a customer arrived and noticed the gas pumps were no longer running. She went in search of the attendant and found Parmar’s body in the washroom.

A cold case review of forensic evidence in August 2015 led police to arrest Rupert Richards.

A bloody hand print was found on the wall inside the washroom. It was run through a database and compared to a known print of Richards. They were determined to be a match.

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In November 2015, police said Richards was known to them at the time of the fatal stabbing, including having a record for a domestic abuse offence.

Parmar was visiting from India at the time of his death. His wife, six-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter were still overseas at the time.

His children, now grown, sat in court and wept as the decision was read.

“This incident in 1990 ruined my life, it ruined my children’s life. I always wonder how my children would have progressed in life if we were a complete family,” wrote his widow in her victim impact statement.

READ MORE: Stolen pickup truck used in robberies in West Lincoln and Grimsby: police

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His son recalled the change in his family.

“My Mother, who always had a smile on her face changed to a woman that never smiled again for several years. She changed her career from being a teacher to working on production line in a factory and working as much overtime hours as possible so she could provide as close to a normal life as possible,” he wrote.

“I recall, my Mom working 6 days a week, close to 60 hours a week of hard labour and just having enough time to come home to put a meal on the table and with very little energy she had left to review our homework.”

Currently Toronto Police Service’s Cold Case Unit has more than 620 cases.

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