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

Nelson contributes $5,000 in kind to Rosemont inter-generational park

Natural playground, benches and paved walkways will attract seniors and kids at Art Gibbon Park

Cannabis outlet requests to take over MMJ Canada location

Quadz Cannabis has applied for a licence from the city

Castlegar teens rescue man from river

Will Watt and Shay LaFayette helped save a fisherman from the Kootenay River.

Gas venting from tanker at Castlegar rail yard posed no danger: officials

Argon gas discharged from a CP tanker car on Friday, April 19.

PHOTOS: Nelson kids clean up Easter mess

Coloured eggs were strewn across Lakeside Park

VIDEO: Nelson students paint Parachutes for the Planet

The youth-led initiative lobbies governments for climate change action

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Fish farming company launches $30-million vessel to treat salmon for sea lice in B.C. waters

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Singh says childhood abuse steeled him for scrutiny and stress of politics

He recounts the assaults for the first time in his book Love & Courage

Despite five extra weeks’ parental leave in Canada, dads still face stigma: survey

One reason people said dads don’t need leave is because they can just bond with their kids at weekend

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

Most Read