A former teacher at St. Francis Xavier University was sentenced Tuesday to live in prison for beating his wife to death in 2011.

Patrick Chareka pleaded guilty in September to second-degree murder. He is eligible for parole in 13 years.


Ottilia Chareka, who was originally from Zimbabwe, was widely known and respected in the community.

His wife, Ottilia Chareka, was found in the couple’s Antigonish home after the police received a 911 call for a disturbance. She was taken to hospital but later died. She was a professor in the education department of St. FX.

Police said Chareka beat his wife with a hammer.

Prosecutors said Chareka agreed to plead guilty in part so that his children wouldn’t have to testify in the trial. Four of the couple’s five children were home the night of the murder.

"Few can appreciate the terrible toll the murder of their mother has had on the children," said Crown prosecutor Darlene Oko.

During the sentencing hearing the court heard that Chareka killed his wife as she slept beside their three-year-old daughter as a form of revenge and retribution for Ottilia Chareka's success.

The Charekas arrived in Fredericton from Zimbabwe in 1993. Chareka had a scholarship to the University of New Brunswick. Ottilia Chareka earned three degrees from UNB in the education faculty and also went on to teach at St. FX. 

In 2010, Patrick Chareka had recently lost his job, creating tension in the home as traditional roles changed. There were financial pressures and custody issues.

The court heard that Ottilia Chareka feared for her life, and had visited the police and a home for the victims of violence the day she was murdered.

The Crown and the defence made a joint recommendation that Chareka serve 13 years before being eligible for parole.