Toronto neurosurgeon pleads guilty in wife’s death

Court heard Mohammed Shamji was fighting with wife, who wanted a divorce, and choked her to death

Mohammed Shamji and Elana Fric-Shamji, 40, are shown in a photo from Fric-Shamji’s Facebook page. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO/Facebook)

A Toronto neurosurgeon was fighting with his wife who wanted a divorce when he choked her to death in their home while their three children were sleeping, a court heard Monday as the man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Mohammed Shamji’s plea came days before he was to stand trial for first-degree murder in the death of Elana Fric-Shamji — his wife of 12 years.

READ MORE: 11 years sought for B.C. man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

The couple’s marriage had been “volatile and dysfunctional” for months, a Crown lawyer told the court while reading an agreed statement of facts, and Shamji had been resisting his wife’s attempts at starting divorce proceedings.

Fric-Shamji, who was family physician at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, began an affair with a fellow doctor, and her husband found out about it, court heard. Shamji then continued to try and change his wife’s mind about getting a divorce, the Crown said.

On the night of her death, the pair got into a heated argument in their bedroom that woke one of their children, who heard banging, screams and then silence, court heard.

“Mohammed struck Elana multiple times, causing her significant blunt force injuries all over her body, including a broken neck and broken ribs. He then choked her to death,” Crown lawyer Henry Poon told the court.

“After the killing, Mohammed packed his wife’s body in a suitcase and drove about 35 kilometres north of the city and dumped the suitcase in the Humber River.”

Shamji carried on with his daily routine after the slaying, including performing surgeries the next day, and lied about his missing wife’s whereabouts, the Crown said. He also planted evidence aimed at pointing the finger at his wife’s lover, court heard.

Fric-Shamji was reported missing by her mother. Her body was found in a suitcase by the side of a road north of Toronto a day after she was last seen on Nov. 30, 2016.

Shamji, who worked at Toronto Western Hospital and was a faculty member at the University of Toronto, was arrested on Dec. 2, 2016.

Police have said an investigation revealed Fric-Shamji died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Fric-Shamji’s death sparked an outpouring of grief from those who knew her. She was described as a talented professional who helped improve the health-care system.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

Central Saanich police respond to 419 calls in July, including speeding motorcyclist

Police chase deemed too risky, biker tracked down the next day

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Sidney salon closes citing persistent lack of staff

Housing, transit continue to affect workers on Saanich Peninsula

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read