As police try to figure out who killed Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman and made it look like murder-suicide, it has emerged the slain drug company boss predicted his own assassination.
Mr Sherman, 75, founder of generic drug manufacturer Apotex, and his 70-year-old wife were found dead next to an indoor pool in the basement of their lavish Toronto mansion on December 15.
They had been strung to the pool railing with men's belts in what investigators have described as an "elevated seated position".
The gruesome discovery is believed to have been made by a real estate agent the Shermans had commissioned to sell their house, which was listed at $6.6 million.
Toronto Police initially believed Mr Sherman had killed his wife and then himself but changed their minds after private investigators hired by the Shermans' children found compelling evidence their parents were murdered by at least two people.
Now an interview has resurfaced in which Mr Sherman appears to have predicted his own death — at the hands of his business rivals, whom he believed hated him enough to kill him.
In Jeffrey Robinson's 2001 book titled 'Prescription Games: Money, Ego and Power Inside the Pharmaceutical Industry', Mr Sherman detailed the long-running feud between Apotex and Big Pharma over drug patents.
"The branded drug companies hate us. They have private investigators on us all the time," Mr Sherman told Robinson in the book.
"The thought once came to my mind: why didn't they just hire someone to knock me off? For a thousand bucks paid to the right person, you can probably get someone killed. Perhaps I'm surprised that hasn't happened."
But there were other enemies. Mr Sherman, who had a net worth of C$4.77 billion (NZ 5.29 billion) was embroiled in no less than 150 lawsuits at the time of his death, according to The Sunday Times.
Most were connected to Apotex and the family fortune, including one filed by his cousins who claimed he owed them a share of the profits he made from buying their late father's company.
"He was absolutely hated," Robinson told The Times. "Nobody liked Barry Sherman. He was so frigging litigious. He was constantly at war with everybody. In business he was a prick, so there might have been people who would like to have done it."
Last month, the four adult Sherman children released a statement expressing fury over the police murder-suicide theory. They acted quickly, hiring a team of ex-homicide detectives to conduct their own investigation and commissioned independent post mortem examinations.
They found evidence the pair had been murdered by at least two killers and that Mrs Sherman, who suffered facial cuts and was found in a pool of her own blood, had tried to fight off her attackers.
Private autopsies have revealed the couple, who died by strangulation, had markings on their wrists that suggested their hands had been tied together, according to The Sunday Times.
The cause of death was judged to be "ligature compression" caused by leather belts around their necks.
On Friday, two days after the Sherman family investigators leaked their findings, the Toronto Police Service held a press conference to announce it was launching a double murder probe.
"We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation and that both Honey and Barry Sherman were in fact targeted," Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes, who is leading the inquiry, told reporters.
She said police had spoken to more than 125 witnesses and collected in excess of 150 pieces of evidence.
No suspects had been identified but officers had an "extensive list" of people to talk to.