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Father jailed for murdering two-year-old adopted daughter after she argued with ‘favourite son’

A father has been jailed for life for murdering his two-year-old adopted daughter after she argued with his “favourite son” about going for ice cream, a court heard.

Jan Gholami, 33, lost his temper with Zahra Ghulami and “bashed her head against a wall” in a fatal attack in May 2020, Maidstone Crown Court was told.

Zahra suffered a skull fracture due to the “significant impact” of the collision at Gholami’s home in Gravesend, Kent, the jury was told.

She was taken to hospital where she died two days later.

Former farmer Gholami told the jury he went to Tesco on the morning she suffered the injury – adding that when he got home his son said Zahra had fallen down the stairs and was vomiting.

The prosecution said Gholami went to Tesco after he inflicted the injuries on Zahra.

Sally Howes KC, prosecuting, said there was a “rivalry” between Zahra and Gholami’s “favourite son”.

She said the children had squabbled before the Tesco trip about going for ice cream and Gholami lost his temper with the little girl.

The girl’s cause of death was given as a severe head injury and skull fracture by Professor Charles Mangham, an osteoarticular pathologist.

A jury found Gholami guilty of murder and and child cruelty on 9 January.

He was sentenced to life on Friday and was told he will serve a minimum of 23 years and six months before he is eligible to be considered for parole.

Jan Gholami will serve at least 23 years in prison. Pic: Kent Police
Image: Jan Gholami will serve at least 23 years in prison. Pic: Kent Police

Gholami’s wife, Roqia Ghulami, was cleared of murder during the trial but was found guilty of child neglect.

The 32-year-old has been sentenced to two years in prison.

During the trial, Zahra was described as a “bright, intelligent” child who was “highly curious” and wanted to find out about everything.

Ghulami did not give evidence in court but told police she thought Zahra fell down the stairs.

Jurors were told Gholami, originally from Afghanistan, came to the UK in January 2016 while Ghulami was still in Afghanistan with their children.

The couple adopted Zahra in 2017 after Gholami’s friend, Zahra’s father, felt unable to look after her after his wife died in childbirth.

This happened when Ghulami was in Afghanistan and the adoption was approved by village elders.

Roqia Ghulami has been jailed for two years
Image: Roqia Ghulami has been jailed for two years

In January 2019, Gholami applied for asylum for Ghulami from the UK, and she arrived with the children to join him.

The court also heard evidence of alleged domestic abuse by Gholami against Ghulami, with a neighbour claiming she saw him saw punch her in the face outside their home.

Ghulami told a police officer and social worker in June 2019 that Gholami beat her, sometimes by slapping her or banging her head against a wall, and she was scared he would kill her, the jury heard.

Gholami denied hurting his wife, and also denied allegations of inflicting older injuries on Zahra before her death.

They included that he banged her head against the wall and fractured her skull on an earlier occasion.

Prosecutor Ms Howes said: “Because this is what you do.

“You bang people’s heads against walls.

“Because you’ve done this before and Zahra had survived, you just walked away and went to Tesco.”

Kent Police’s senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Ross Gurden, said after sentencing that Zahra was betrayed by people she trusted in the “most brutal way”.

He added: “Gholami inflicted catastrophic injuries on Zahra, and his partner failed to intervene to help her.

“This outcome can never bring Zahra back but does ensure those responsible for her death have been brought to justice.”

Sky News Source