A husband who killed his wife and dumped her body in a suitcase has been sentenced to life in prison.
The body of mum-of-three Elana Fric-Shamji, 40, was found concealed in the case and dumped in an underpass two days after she vanished in November 2016.
Elana had asked her husband Mohammed Shamji, 43, for a divorce days earlier after discovering he had been unfaithful.
While to outsiders the couple appeared to be happily married, behind closed doors Shamji was controlling and physically abusive towards his wife with whom he shared three children aged 11, eight and three.
A court heard Elana had told a close friend she was worried she might ‘go missing’ shortly before her death.
‘…You will know who did it,’ she told the friend.
On November 28, 2016, her lawyers served Shamji with divorce papers after 12 years of marriage. Two days later, he reported her missing.
He told police his wife had taken her suitcase and left, so he’s sent her a text asking where she was. Good morning. it read. Not sure where u are. I guess I will get kids ready and take them to school. Pls call.
But when police found the case in a underpass 34km away from the family’s Toronto home, they made a grim discovery. Inside was Elana’s body.
An autopsy showed she had suffered a broken neck and ribs before she was strangled death, while an investigation found she’d been attacked in the family’s garage.
When neighbours reported they’d heard arguing the night before Elana vanished, Shamji became a prime suspect. The day after her body was found, Shamji was arrested before being charged with his wife’s brutal murder.
After protesting his innocence, in April this year he pleaded guilty to second degree murder. ‘Mine was the ultimate betrayal to a woman who gave so much to so many people, especially me,’ he told the court.
He had killed his wife while the children were in the house, and had ushered his eldest child to bed after she was woken by screams.
Sentencing the neurosurgeon to life in prison with a 14-year non-parole period, Superior Court Justice John McMahon said:
‘This is an extremely tragic case. Three young children have lost their mother forever.’
After the sentencing hearing, Elana’s mother Anna said she wished Canada had the death penalty as prison wasn't a severe enough punishment for what Shamji had done. 'Elana was the child that every parent could hope for,' she said, adding her grandchildren gave her the strength to go on.
Her father Joe said: ‘I am an old man, almost 74 years of age, so my loss will end before too long, but the loss of the children will go on for decades and decades.’