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A once prominent neurosurgeon has been sentenced to life in prison after breaking his wife’s neck and strangling her to death while the couple’s three children slept nearby.
Mohammed Shamji, 43, received the sentence Thursday after hearing emotional testimony from the victim’s family, who described a volatile and abusive relationship. Shamji pleaded guilty last month to second-degree murder of his wife, Elana Fric, 40, more than two years after she was killed in 2016, according to CBC.
Fric, also a physician, was beaten and choked to death just two days after serving her husband with divorce papers. The oldest of the couple’s three children reportedly heard the grisly attack from a nearby room.
“Somehow I turned my back on my oath and calling and took a life, Elana’s life,” Shamji said in court during an apology to his wife’s family according to The Toronto Sun.
Shamji said his actions made “no sense” to him.
“I don’t know how I could cause such pain and anguish,” he said. “I should have killed myself and not Elana. That would have been the only justice.”
After Shamji attacked his wife—breaking her neck and ribs—he stuffed her body in a suitcase, discarded it and then reportedly went to work as usual, even performing surgeries, Fox News reports.
The body was discovered Dec. 1, 2016 near an underpass in Vaughn, Ontario, shortly after she was reported missing.
Shamji was arrested the following day at a coffee shop.
Fric’s family told the court that the horrific act of violence had destroyed their family and left the couple’s three children without a mother.
“The nightmare that began on Dec. 1, 2016 when we drove to Toronto, fearing for our daughter, has never ended and will never end until the day I die,” her mother Ana Fric said, according to The Toronto Sun.
Ana Fric went on to say that her daughter's children have “given me a purpose to live.” She also delivered a lengthy and emotional statement outside the courthouse telling reporters that during the turbulent marriage Shamji had made her daughter feel worthless and said she had begged her daughter to leave the relationship.
As part of his sentence, Shamji will be eligible to apply for parole in 11 and a half years, factoring in time he’s already served behind bars before the sentence was delivered.
The victim’s mother contends that “justice wasn’t done” in the case and recounted numerous incidents of abuse her daughter allegedly suffered at the hands of Shamji.
Elana had initially begun divorce proceedings in May 2016 but later decided to give her husband a second chance, before formally filing for divorce in November of 2016.
“There were signs early on that I was not a good partner or a good husband. I am surprised our marriage did not end sooner,” Shamji said when discussing the relationship.
He called killing his wife the “ultimate betrayal” to a woman who had given so much to the world.
“There have been no justifications or excuses for what I have done that has hurt so many people,” he said.
However, Elana’s sister, Caroline Lekic, questioned her former brother-in-law’s sincerity and said she believed he was only sorry that he got caught for the crime.
“That was a ploy,” she said outside the courthouse. “Why didn’t he plead guilty two years ago?”
The victim’s father Joseph Fric also delivered an emotional statement in court recounting the horror he was forced to endure when identifying his daughter’s mangled body after the gruesome killing. The image, he said, will “haunt me forever.”
The couple’s three children, ages, 14, 11, and 5 are now being raised by the victim’s parents.
“Three young children have lost their mother forever,” Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon said of the tragedy.
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