‘Hatred, I hate him’: Daughters of Mohammed Shamji describe confusion and heartache
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 11:18AM EDT Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 6:51PM EDT
For the first time since Mohammed Shamji was arrested for the murder of his wife, the couple’s eldest daughter laid eyes on her father as he sat in a prisoner's box.
“I did make eye contact with him multiple times, just to let him know that I was there,” said 14-year-old Yasmin Shamji.
“I just wanted him to know that I was there, just to see me after two and a half years, to let him know. Not in a good way, not in way that (would) make him feel okay. I wanted him to feel that he’s been missing out on my childhood.”
The body of her mother, Dr. Elana Fric-Shamji, was discovered stuffed in a suitcase that was discarded by a river in Kleinberg, Ont. on Dec. 1, 2016. Her father was arrested 24 hours later. He has been in custody ever since.
On Thursday, the 43-year-old neurosurgeon was handed an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 14 years.
Yasmin, her 11-year-old sister Faiza and their five-year-old brother Marius have lived with their maternal grandparents in Windsor, Ont. since their North York home became a crime scene.
One day before they learned their son-in-law’s fate, Ana and Josip Fric described their regret, saying they wished they did more to encourage their daughter to leave the abusive relationship.
“As the cold blooded killer that he is… The way he killed my daughter, I could not recognize her,” Ana Fric said in a sit-down interview with CTV News Toronto.
“He didn’t kill her, he massacred her.”
Throughout the proceedings, court heard that after years of a “volatile and dysfunctional” marriage, Fric-Shamji finally decided to “give up the marriage for good” and served her husband divorce papers.
Two days later, while their children were asleep in their beds, he attacked her.
Shamji beat her, breaking her neck and ribs, before choking her to death.
The commotion woke Yasmin – then 11 years old – who told police she heard banging, her mother’s screams and then silence.
She ran to her parents’ bedroom to investigate only to be stopped by her father, who ordered her to go back to bed.
The suitcase containing her body was found not long after family reported her missing.
The victim’s sister, Caroline Lekic, asked the same question many have asked since the 40-year-old disappeared, just weeks before Christmas.
“Why did you do it?” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.
“Why? You’re smart, you’re educated, and you had everything going for you. Why? You could’ve got divorced like millions of other people do, why didn’t you take that easier route than this? Was this worth it?”
The couple’s 11-year-old daughter, Faiza, said she may never understand what drove her father to kill her mom.
“I think, where did he go wrong?” she asked. “When did he think it was okay to do that? What was his thought process when he was doing what he did? What made him think that it was okay to do that…I really want to know.”
The Crown described the couple’s marriage as “volatile and dysfunctional” and detailed the emotional and physical abuse Fric-Shamji suffered over the last 12 years.
Yasmin said she thought the fighting was normal.
“I thought it was natural at first but when I heard about other kids and their parents and how they were happy,” she said. “Yeah they had their fights, but it sucked to know that my family was fighting and dysfunctional and all that.”
They now know what was happening inside their North York home was far from normal.
"Hatred. I hate him, honestly," Yasmin said without hesitating. "I'm angry, I'm just more so scared than sad than angry, as well. It's a mix of emotions."
The slain doctor’s mother had more pointed words for the man she once considered family.
“You make me sick,” she said. “You make me sick.”
With files from CTV News Toronto’s Austin Delaney