Toronto neurosurgeon who strangled his wife, stuffed her body into a suitcase and left it by a river pleads guilty to her murder just days before his trial is due to start
Mohammed Shamji, 43, entered a guilty plea of second-degree murder in a Toronto court on Monday
The neurosurgeon was 40 when he killed his physician wife, Elana Fric-Shamji, then 40, in 2016 after an argument
Police claim Shamji strangled the mother of his three children in their garage before hitting her with a blunt object and dumping her body
Fric-Shamji had filed for divorce two days before her death after alleging their 12-year marriage was marred by domestic violence
He faces an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years
Elana Fric-Shamji [left], worked as a family doctor at the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital in Toronto. The husband accused in her murder, Mohammed Shamji [right] was a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital
The Toronto neurosurgeon entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser count of second-degree murder, after holding out for three years came. The plea stopped his oldest daughter having to have to testify against him and describe the final horrific moments of her mother’s life.
Yasmin was just 11 when she awoke to the sound of her parents arguing in their North York bedroom. “She heard banging, her mom scream, then silence,” according to the agreed statement of facts.
“The 11-year-old went to her parents’ room to investigate. She was ordered back to bed by her father.”
The neurosurgeon, who has been in custody since his arrest on December 2, 2016, stuffed his wife’s body into a suitcase where it was discovered dumped the next day by a passer-by near the Humber River in the southern Ontario city of Vaughan.
She was killed from strangulation and blunt force trauma, according to police. Shamji was arrested at a coffee shop in Mississauga a day after her body was found.
Speaking outside the courthouse on Monday, Ana Fric, Elana’s mother, said: ‘Justice will never befall us. The only justice we will ever have is if she will come back, and she will never come back.’
News of the murder and Shamji’s complicity was met with shock in the Toronto area at the time, particularly within the medical community.
The Shamjis were highly regarded doctors whose marriage produced three children.
Fric-Shamji worked as a family doctor at the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital in Toronto.
Before his arrest, Shamji was a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital and a faculty member at the University of Toronto.
They both had advanced degrees from Duke University in the US.
Witnesses reported hearing the couple arguing at their home on the night of the killing.
Law enforcement officials alleged that Fric-Shamji was hit with a blunt force object in the couple’s garage.
Neighbors said Elana Fric-Shamji had filed for divorce from her husband and that she was in ‘good spirits’ in the days leading up to her death because she was ‘looking toward her new life’.
At the time of the killing, the couple’s children, Yasmin, 12, Faiza, 9, and 3-year-old Marius were placed in the care of her maternal grandparents.
Fric-Shamji’s grisly death was a far cry from images the couple presented on their social media accounts, which show a husband and wife enjoying one another’s company.
However, sources told the Toronto Sun that the marriage was marred by previous incidents in which the police were called to the house.
‘It’s very shocking,’ a friend told the Sun. ‘She was just a wonderful, wonderful person.’
in 2005, Shamji entered into a peace bond admitting his wife has reason to fear he’d “cause personal injury to her”. Elana Fric-Shamji served her husband with divorce papers on Nov. 28, 2016