Yasmin Shamji says her mother’s murder, by her father, has left her confused, angry and heartbroken.
Yasmin, 14, spoke publicly about the death of family doctor Elana Fric, just hours after Toronto neurosurgeon Mohammed Shamji was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years. He had earlier pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
“It’s weird to know that somebody that you’re related to can be so inhumane,” she told The National‘s Ioanna Roumeliotis.
Yasmin says she felt uncomfortable as she sat in court, listening to details about her mother’s murder, but felt she had to be there because she wanted to know what happened.
“I didn’t exactly like hearing what they were saying,” she said. “[But] I had some questions that needed to be answered, so I decided to stay.”
Watch a clip of Yasmin Shamji speaking to The National‘s Ioanna Roumelioutis
Yasmin and her two younger siblings have lived with their grandparents, Ana and Jo Fric, since the murder in November 2016.
The Fric family, along with the family’s lawyer, agreed to allow CBC News to interview Yasmin together with her grandmother so she could speak for her mother.
Fric’s body was found on Dec. 1, 2016, inside a suitcase near an underpass in Vaughan, Ont., approximately 35 kilometres north of Toronto.
According to an agreed statement of facts, her husband beat Fric on the night of her murder — two days after she served him with divorce papers — breaking her neck and ribs before choking her to death as their three young children slept. He was arrested two days after the discovery of her body.
Yasmin was relieved when her father pleaded guilty in April, on the eve of the trial, which meant she could avoid having to testify. On the night of the murder, her father had ordered her back to bed after she had awoken to the sound of her mother screaming.
“I felt like I would have had an emotional breakdown if I had to go in the witness stand,” she said.
‘I just don’t want to see him again’
At his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Shamji addressed the court, apologizing to his family for the damage he has caused. It was the first time he had spoken face-to-face with his children in two and a half years.
“It felt weird to look him in the eye and hear him actually address me,” said Shamji. “I just didn’t like it.”
Shamji says she doesn’t want to speak to her father again.
“I wouldn’t really know what to say and I just don’t want to see him again,” she said.
Instead, she says she will focus on moving on with her life while keeping alive the memory of her mother.
“She was a person who was really easy to get along with,” she said. “That’s what I remember most about her.”
At her recent confirmation, a religious ceremony when young Christians confirm their faith and choose a name for themselves, she chose her mother’s name, Elana.
“I couldn’t think of a name that would better suit how I wanted to I guess go forward in life,” she said.
Watch Ana Fric’s reaction to Mohammed Shamji’s sentencing
This story originally appeared on CBC