Man gets extra three years for strangling wife, burying body in basement

CALGARY — A man who strangled his wife and concealed her body in the family home after enduring what he described as years of domestic abuse has been given an additional three years in prison.

Allan Shyback was convicted last year of manslaughter and indignity to a body in the 2012 death of Lisa Mitchell in the Calgary home they shared with their children.

The Crown appealed Shyback’s original seven-year prison term and the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the judge made sentencing errors.

Shyback testified that he killed Mitchell while he was defending himself as she attacked him with a knife. He said he panicked, put her body inside a plastic bin and cemented it into a basement wall.

He told the family Mitchell had left and he and his children continued to live in the home.

An undercover police operation began in 2013 and ended with Shyback’s confession and arrest in Winnipeg.

The Appeal Court said the five years the judge gave Shyback for manslaughter were too low and should have been seven. It also found the two-year sentence for disposing of Mitchell’s body was inadequate and should have been three.

“For two years, the respondent led the deceased’s family to believe that she was alive and there was some hope of her returning. He maintained this deception until the Mr. Big operation revealed the truth,” Justice Jack Watson wrote on behalf of the three-member panel.

“It was particularly cruel for the respondent to suggest to the children that their mother had abandoned them but might return one day, even though he knew she was entombed in the basement of the house in which they were all living.”

Watson said the judge didn’t give any weight to the obvious aggravating factors.

“Having regard to the gravity of the offence and the degree or responsibility of the respondent, the sentence imposed was demonstrably unfit.”

The Crown had originally asked for a sentence of 13 to 15 years.

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