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Dr. Elana Fric was a well-respected family physician at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital and a dedicated mother of three young children. (Twitter) Two days before Dr. Elana Fric was brutally attacked and killed by her husband while their three young children were sleeping in the family home, she had served him with divorce papers.

The headline-making case is once again putting a spotlight on domestic violence and the dangers that people face when trying to leave a volatile relationship.

Longtime family lawyer Steve Benmore believes Fric, who faced years of escalating emotional and physical abuse, should have left the family home before ending the marriage. Fric was a family physician.

"It’s at that moment of being served that is the most explosive," Benmore said, noting that when a person receives divorce papers they read vivid details about their often-troubled relationship.

"It was a perfect storm, which could have been prevented," he said.

It’s unclear how Fric served Shamji with the divorce papers. But Benmore explains what troubles him most about this case is Shamji’s propensity for violence, along with the children being home at the time.

"The volatility and incendiary nature of what happened could have been mitigated," he told CBC Toronto. Dr. Mohammed Shamji pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of his physician wife, Dr. Elana Fric, in 2016. The guilty plea carries an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 10 years. (Pam Davies/CBC) Mohammed Shamji, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of Fric in a packed downtown Toronto courtroom on Monday.

Shamji, now 43, repeatedly beat Fric on the night of her murder, breaking her neck and ribs before choking her to death, the court heard.

He then stuffed her body in a suitcase, drove 35 kilometres north of Toronto and dumped it in the Humber River.

The next morning Shamji returned to Toronto Western Hospital, where the sought-after specialist performed spinal surgeries.

"My sympathies are with the children who are going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives," said Dr. Larry Erlick, the director of family medicine at the east-end Toronto hospital where Fric worked.

Mohammed Shamji has admitted to killing his physician wife, Dr. Elana Fric, in December 2016. Shamji pleaded guilty to second-degree murder as two of the couple’s three children and Fric’s parents sat in court. It was the first time the kids, now 11 and 14, have seen their father since his arrest. 4:19

The case rocked Canada’s medical community and sparked dialogue about domestic violence.

Marlene Ham, executive director of Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses, points out that intimate partner violence can appear in multiple forms, either in one explosive incident or a slow climb to danger.

"It doesn’t always have to happen in terms of an escalation. It can happen in many different ways," she said.

Emotional and verbal abuse, name calling and controlling access to family and friends can all be signs of domestic violence, she says.Women make up the overwhelming majority of domestic violence victims in Ontario.According to a 2016 report by Ontario’s chief coroner , there were 388 homicides involving intimate-partner violence in the province between 2002 and 2015. Of that number, more than 80 per cent were women. Couples with a history of domestic violence were almost three times more likely to be killed. History of emotional, physical abuse Fric and Shamji were both successful doctors.Colleagues remember Fric, 40, as a vibrant and dedicated family physician at Scarborough and Rouge Hospital and a well-respected member of the Ontario Medical Association. She was devoted to issues concerning health care for women, the underprivileged and refugees. Fric, an assistant professor of medicine at […]

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