A man who killed his wife and evaded police for seven years sobbed in court when he learned he would be sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years.

Harinder Singh Cheema, 38, was found guilty of second-degree murder in November.

During the trial, Cheema said he stabbed his wife Gurpreet Kaur during a heated argument in the apartment they shared in the Ville St-Laurent borough of Montreal on Christmas Eve in 2007.

“I stabbed her, ladies and gentlemen,” Cheema told the jury last month. “Basically, she provoked me. I don’t know how many times I stabbed her.”

The autopsy revealed Cheema’s wife had been stabbed 14 times.

Following the stabbing, Cheema fled with the couple’s two babies, one just 20 days old and the other 18 months, and dropped them off at a neighbour’s home. He then travelled to Vancouver before making his way to California where he lived for years. Cheema changed his identity and even married another woman during his time in the U.S.

Eventually U.S. authorities caught up with him and he was arrested in 2015. Cheema was sent back to Montreal.

During the sentencing arguments, Cheema told the court: “I wish she had killed me. I killed her just one time, but I kill myself every day.”

Cheema expressed remorse during the proceedings and told the judge that he’s been taking workshops during the two years he’s been in prison in order to become a better man. Despite his remorse, the judge said the court remained skeptical about his sincerity.

The judge called Cheema a “self-centred, deceitful, and manipulative person.”

Because of his crime, two young children were separated from their mother at a critical age, the judge said.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

In Cheema’s case, the judge gave him more than the minimum for parole eligibility citing aggravating circumstances, including the fact that his wife had given birth just three weeks before the murder and there was domestic violence in the marriage.

With his two years of time served, Cheema won’t be eligible for parole until July 2030 at the earliest.

With a report from CTV Montreal’s Rob Lurie