Toronto

Toronto man who murdered physician wife sentenced to life without parole for 14 years

Mohammed Shamji was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years after pleading guilty to murdering his wife, family physician Elana Fric, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase.

Mohammed Shamji, 43, killed Elana Fric, 40, after she served him with divorce papers

Mohammed Shamji addressed the court after an emotional day of victim impact statements on Wednesday. On Thursday, he received a life term with no chance of parole chance for 14 years in the second-degree murder of his wife. (Pam Davies/CBC)

A disgraced Toronto neurosurgeon who murdered his physician wife just days after she filed for divorce more than two years ago was sentenced to life in prison Thursday and will not be eligible to apply for parole for 14 years.

Mohammed Shamji, 43, pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder in the death of Elana Fric, 40, a respected family doctor. Because he has been in custody since his arrest on Dec. 2, 2016, Shamji will in fact be eligible to apply for parole in 11½ years.

Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon said Thursday the case is yet another tragic instance of domestic homicide that he sees far too often.

"[Fric] was robbed of a wonderful life yet to be lived," McMahon said in a Toronto court.

Court heard Fric served her husband with divorce papers two days before he attacked her, broke her neck and ribs, and choked her to death as their three children slept nearby.

Crown prosecutor Henry Poon discusses the case of Mohammed Shamji, who was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years for murdering his wife Elana Fric. 0:52

Fric's body was found on Dec. 1, 2016, in a suitcase near an underpass in Vaughan, Ont., approximately 35 kilometres north of Toronto. Shamji was arrested at a coffee shop in Mississauga, west of the city, the following day.

Fric died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma. Court heard the couple's marriage was volatile and included both physical and verbal abuse of Fric by her husband.

Fric's mother told court at a sentencing hearing Wednesday that Shamji destroyed their entire family, leaving them heartbroken and angry.

The Crown and defence had both asked the court to set the parole-ineligibility period for Shamji at 14 years. McMahon called that "fair and just."

He also ordered that Shamji have no contact with the children or Fric's parents without prior consent.

"Three young children have lost their mother forever," McMahon said. 

Detective Sgt. Andy Singh of the Toronto police hopes that by avoiding a long trial in the murder of their mother, the children of Elana Fric Shamji can begin the healing process. 0:40

McMahon credited Shamji for his last-minute guilty plea, which saved his young daughter from testifying as a key witness at the trial. But he also condemned Shamji for the nature of the murder at the couple's home.

"I recognize there is no evidence of planning. A heated argument led to the killing," McMahon said. "The nature of the violence is extreme."

Ana Fric speaks outside court Thursday as her husband, Joe, wipes tears from his eyes. Fric remembered her daughter as a devoted mother and doctor. (Lorenda Reddekopp/CBC)

Outside court Thursday, Fric's mother, Ana, said "justice wasn't done today."

In a long and emotional statement to reporters, Ana Fric detailed many instances of abuse against her daughter by Shamji, and said he'd had numerous affairs. She said she begged her daughter to leave Shamji, and was relieved that she had finally made that decision.

"She felt worthless in his eyes," Fric said of her daughter's relationship with Shamji.

Fric was asked if she had advice for women who found themselves in circumstances like her daughter's.

"I would say leave them," she said. "Don't give them a second chance."

Ana Fric, the mother of Dr. Elana Fric. speaks about her daughter following the sentencing of Mohammed Shamji. 0:34

Fric described her daughter as the child any parent would want to have. 

"She was kind, she was generous. She was a lovely mother, a devoted mother."

Fric's father, Joe, said he will have anger "in my chest" for the rest of his life.

"I know how many lives he destroyed."

With files from The Canadian Press and Lorenda Reddekopp