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

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag Monday amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

City of White Rock, SFN reaffirm close ties

National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated on June 21

GUEST COLUMN: Looks like TransLink aims to ‘short-circuit’ plan for rail service on Interurban corridor

‘We are not going away,’ writes Rick Green, of South Fraser Community Rail Group

Swansong Ride2Survive raises $1M-plus in single-day cycle from Kelowna to Delta

Saturday’s ride was the 15th and final fundraiser of its kind for North Delta-based charity event

VIDEO: Surrey’s former Flamingo Hotel goes out with a bang

The Flamingo opened in July 1955 as a motor hotel with 20 rooms

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Special series: How growth is affecting students, parents and school staff alike – and what the future holds

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

Grey-haired bank robber hit with dye pack in Langley heist

Police are looking for an older man who may be stained with dye

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

New Lower Mainland bistro caters to board game fans and families

Local food and games at every table is the formula for the new business

Most Read