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Father of Indian woman murdered in Surrey says her husband pulled trigger, then killed himself

Father of murdered international student reveals new details in tragedy
The father of a 21-year old international student slain in Surrey last month in an apparent murder-suicide is sharing more details about his daughter's tragic story, as he arrives in B.C. to recover her body. Julia Foy reports.

The father of a young Indian woman found murdered in a Surrey home last month has identified the man who killed her as her 18-year-old husband, a B.C. resident who then fatally shot himself.

Prabhleen Matharu, 21, was found dead along with the body of an 18-year-old man, who police have refused to name “as there is no investigative need to do so.” Only Matharu has been named the victim of a homicide, and no suspects are being sought.

Journalism students and faculty from Langara College shared with Global News that they had confidently identified the man as Pieter Biermann of Langley.

In an interview with Global News Saturday, Prabhleen’s father Gurdial Singh Matharu confirmed Biermann killed his daughter.

“Yes, he was her husband,” he said through a translator and family friend, Kashmir Singh Dhaliwal.

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READ MORE: ‘There’s nothing left in my life’: Father of young Indian woman killed in Surrey speaks out

Dhaliwal later confirmed on Sunday the pair met each other three years ago while working at a Tim Horton’s.

He also revealed what police told Matharu after he arrived in B.C.: that Biermann, who had a firearms licence, purchased a gun on Nov. 21 — the same day he allegedly killed Prabhleen before shooting himself.

Both bodies were found in a home the next day, prompting police to respond.

Matharu has already told Global News that police have confirmed to him that Biermann was responsible for the killing, and had taken his own life.

International student one of two people found dead in Surrey home
International student one of two people found dead in Surrey home

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) has not publicly confirmed a murder-suicide, nor how the murder weapon was obtained.

Global News has reached out to IHIT and Biermann’s family, but did not receive a response Sunday.

Matharu, who came to B.C. from India this week to speak with police and retrieve his daughter’s body, said Prabhleen and Biermann were married on Aug. 31 in Calgary.

The father provided pictures of the ceremony, which appears to have been held in a home with only an officiant present to conduct the marriage.

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He also shared other pictures of Prabhleen and Biermann together, as well as Biermann’s high school graduation portrait.

A photo shows Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann at their wedding ceremony in Calgary on Aug. 31, 2019, Matharus family says.
A photo shows Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann at their wedding ceremony in Calgary on Aug. 31, 2019, Matharus family says. Global News/Gurdial Singh
Photos show Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann at their wedding ceremony in Calgary on Aug. 31, 2019, Matharus family says.
Photos show Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann at their wedding ceremony in Calgary on Aug. 31, 2019, Matharus family says. Global News/Gurdial Singh
Photos show Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann, both together and separate. The photos are held by Matharus family.
Photos show Prabhleen Matharu, right, and Pieter Biermann, both together and separate. The photos are held by Matharus family. Global News/Gurdial Singh

The legal age to be married in B.C. is 19 years of age. In Alberta, couples can get married at 18.

Matharu said he and the family knew of the couple’s relationship for “two or three years,” and had talked with Biermann on the phone multiple times.

Dhaliwal said Matharu had known for some time that Prabhleen and Biermann were married, but did not have enough proof, including a marriage licence.

It wasn’t until he came to B.C. from India that he was able to recover the pictures of the couple’s ceremony and congratulatory messages from their friends.

READ MORE: Candlelight vigil held in Surrey to honour Indian woman killed in apparent murder-suicide

“She was very happy on this marriage,” Matharu said in English.

Matharu could not speak to why Biermann may have killed his wife, or if anything might have sparked the violent incident.

Dhaliwal explained the couple had secured a home to move into together, and had put down a deposit to rent the space just days before the murder.

Prabhleen was a former Langara College student and Sephora employee at the time of her death.

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Vigil held for Indian international student murdered in Surrey
Vigil held for Indian international student murdered in Surrey

Vigils have been held by Metro Vancouver’s international student community to shed a light on the incident and the hardships students often face when living in another country, including mental health issues and domestic abuse.

Matharu plans to bring her daughter’s body back to the family’s home in the Punjab village of Chitti, where a funeral will be held.

As he mourns his daughter, he says he wants consequences for Prabhleen’s death — even though the apparent culprit is also gone.

“I want to get justice,” he said. “That the investigation continues and that all of the data in their phones, laptops can be searched so more clues can be found, and we can find the truth behind this murder.”