‘My life feels like a burden’: Maple Batalia’s mother, family read out victim impact statements

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The family and friends of slain Surrey teen Maple Batalia were speaking through tears reading out their victim impact statements in court today as her former boyfriend Gurjinder Dhaliwal was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 21 years. Story continues below

Last week, Dhaliwal pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Maple’s death.Batalia, 19, was gunned down after a late-night study session at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on Sept. 28, 2011. She was studying to become a dermatologist, but was also an aspiring actress and model.Last week, the court heard on the night she was murdered, Batalia was shot at five times, three of which hit her torso. She also had 11 cuts on the top and back of her head.Maple Batalia’s father, Harry Batalia, was the first to read his victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing this morning. He said his “life feels useless” after Maple’s death and that he lives with guilt that he couldn’t protect his little girl.Maple’s mother, Sarbjit Batalia, was sobbing as she read out her statement in Punjabi, saying her life feels like a burden and that all colour in her life is lost. “I wish someone would have taken me instead of her,” she said.@GlobalBC No reaction from Dhaliwal as Maple’s mother addresses him directly. Many openly crying in courtroom.— Tanya Beja (@TBejaGlobal) March 7, 2016Many of the family members spoke to Dhaliwal directly, asking him why he killed Maple.Maple’s sister, Rosy Batalia, also spoke to Dhaliwal directly and said Maple tried to help him and make him a better person. She added Maple can rest in peace now that she got justice.Dhaliwal eventually spoke, but was inaudible to most people in attendance.His lawyer said outside the court his client’s comments were directed to Maple’s family and friends. Dhaliwal said he was sorry for killing Batalia and that he recognizes it was a terrible thing that he did.Dhaliwal also apologized to his own family that stood by his side throughout the case.Ahead of the sentencing, the Crown outlined aggravating factors to be considered, including that Dhaliwal was not supposed to contact Batalia and the attack was a predatory ambush. However, it also considered mitigating factors, such as Dhaliwal’s young age, lack of criminal record and a guilty plea.The defense said Dhaliwal was unable to come to terms with the breakup and was perhaps obsessed with Maple, but his remorse is genuine.Dhaliwal’s “associate” Gursimar Singh Bedi was charged with manslaughter and being an accessory after the fact.His trial has been postponed until tomorrow.With files from Tanya Beja