A neurosurgeon accused of killing his physician wife has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in her death.
Mohammed Shamji had been charged with first-degree murder in the 2016 death of Elana Fric-Shamji, the mother of his three children and wife of 12 years.
He entered his guilty plea at a Toronto courthouse Monday morning, days before his trial was set to begin.
A guilty plea to second-degree murder means Shamji would be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Another hearing will be held for the victim impact statements. The sentencing is set for May 8.
The family of Fric-Shamji was aware Shamji would plead guilty to second-degree murder, but her mother said nothing will bring back her daughter.
“Justice can never be for us, never. The only justice we will have if she can come back, and she will never come back,” Ana Fric said outside the courthouse.
Fric-Shamji, a family physician at Scarborough Hospital, was last seen on Nov. 30, 2016, and was reported missing by her mother. Her body was found in a suitcase beside the Humber River in Vaughan the next day.
Shamji, who worked at Toronto Western Hospital, was arrested at a coffee shop on Dec. 2, a day after his wife’s remains were found.
An investigation revealed Fric-Shamji, a family doctor at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital, died of strangulation and blunt force trauma.
The couple’s marriage had been “volatile and dysfunctional” for months, a Crown lawyer told the court while reading an agreed statement of facts on Monday, and Shamji had been resisting his wife’s attempts at starting divorce proceedings.
Fric-Shamji began an affair with a fellow doctor, and her husband found out about it, the 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, the court heard.