The ex-boyfriend of a Scarborough mother of three who was stabbed to death in her home in 2015 has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years.
Lascelles Allen, 54, pleaded guilty unexpectedly to second-degree murder of 31-year-old Suraiya Gangaram on Dec. 12, 2017, one month before the case was expected to go to trial.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Gangaram was found lying in a pool of blood in the kitchen floor of her home at 193 Danzig St., by her 14-year-old daughter who had just come home from school.
The cause of death was multiple stab wounds. The court heard that after she was killed, Allen did a further indignity to her body.
Later that afternoon, Allen tried to kill himself by jumping in front of a Via Rail train at a GO station near Markham Road and Eglinton Ave. E. Allen’s legs were severed and he is now confined to a wheelchair.
In front of a packed courtroom at a downtown Toronto courthouse, Gangaram’s eldest daughter, who made the gruesome discovery, delivered a lengthy victim impact statement just 20 metres away from her mother’s killer.
She told Justice John McMahon about the flashbacks and nightmares she’s had ever since that day and how she blames herself for not being able to save her mother.
“Losing my mom, my best friend, my home, I felt drained and weak and helpless,” the emotional Grade 11 student said.
“I felt like the whole world was crashing down on me. I felt it was my fault I couldn’t save her.”
Her identity, as well as the identities of her two younger siblings, are protected under a publication ban because they live in foster care.
The teen said life got even worse when she and her siblings were put in foster care.
“Without my CAS workers around, it felt like we were living in hell.”
She described how the family treated her like a maid and forced her to take care of her baby sisters and clean the house. She also said they provided no emotional support.
The children have since been moved to what the teen described as “an amazing (foster) family who care for them” and she said she can finally be a teenager.
Speaking about Allen, the teen told the court “the person who killed my mother was someone close to me. Someone I looked up to at a time. Someone who I actually considered a dad.”
Allen was prohibited from going near Gangaram at the time of her murder due to a court order in relation to a prior alleged domestic assault.
According to the agreed statement of facts, the night before she was killed, Allen and Gangaram went out together with Gangaram’s three children to see a musical. They all returned to Gangaram’s home and Allen spent the night with the children while she spent the night with her new boyfriend and came home in the morning.
McMahon told the court Gangaram was breaching his condition and “she was allowing him to have contact even though the court was trying to protect her.”
Police also found a bag in the basement of the victim’s home containing a package of rope, three disposable lighters, two bungee cords, three rolls of duct tape and three cable ties. Justice McMahon agreed with the crown that it appeared Gangaram had “bad thoughts in his mind about causing violence or devastation.”
“If there’s any woman out there and you see a sign like this, get away from it, there’s so many programs and things you can do to help yourself exit,” said Amir Gangaram, the victim’s brother, outside court.
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