A father took out his “bad temper” on his adopted two-year-old daughter, who died of significant head injuries after he “bashed her head against a wall”.
Jan Gholami, 33, has been found guilty of murdering Zahra Ghulami at the family’s Gravesend home in May 2020, just one year after the toddler left Afghanistan to come and live in the UK.
Jurors heard that Zahra had suffered a skull fracture caused by “significant impact with significant energy” and was pronounced dead in hospital two days later.
Gholami denied the accusations as well as denying allegations of older injuries before Zahra’s death, including that he banged her head against the wall and fractured her skull on an earlier occasion.
Prosecutor Sally Howes KC 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.”
Despite Ghulami claiming that she had fallen down the stairs, he was convicted of murder and child cruelty at Maidstone Crown Court. His wife Roqia Ghulami, 32, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of cruelty of a person under 16 in a unanimous verdict.
Former farmer Gholami, originally from Afghanistan, told jurors he went to the supermarket that morning and was informed upon his arrival home that Zahra had fallen and was vomiting.
He claimed that he tried to call for an ambulance but because he does not speak English, he did not understand their questions and instead took a taxi to hospital.
He denied hurting his children, saying he loved them.
The shop worker previously said: “If I would do such things I wouldn’t come to this country. There was a lot of violence in Afghanistan already.
“The reason I came to this country was for the welfare of my children.”
The girl’s cause of death was given as severe head injury and skull fracture by Professor Charles Mangham, an osteoarticular pathologist. During examinations, doctors found evidence of older injuries, which included a skull fracture, and a healing fracture to her arm and shoulder blade.
Jurors were told Gholami came to the UK in January 2016 while his wife Ghulami was still in Afghanistan with their children.
The couple adopted Zahra in 2017 after a family friend, Zahra’s father, felt unable to look after her after his wife died in childbirth.
This occurred when Ghulami was in Afghanistan and the adoption was approved by village elders.
In January 2019, Gholami applied for asylum for his wife from the UK, and she arrived with the children to join him.
Described as a “bright, intelligent” child, Zahra was said to have been“highly curious” and wanted to find out about everything over the course of her short life.
The court also heard evidence of alleged domestic abuse by Gholami against Ghulami, with a neighbour claiming she saw the killer punch his wife in the face outside their home.
Ghulami had informed a police officer and a social worker that he would beat her, sometimes by slapping her or banging her head against a wall, and that she was scared he would kill her.
Gholami and Ghulami, of Oak Road, Gravesend, denied murder, causing or allowing the death of a child and child cruelty.
Judge Mr Justice Wall will sentence Gholami on February 16, and Ghulami at a date to be decided.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Ross Gurden said: “Zahra had her life taken away from her by two people who had a responsibility to love and care for her.
“Jan inflicted the injuries on Zahra whilst Roqia was completely aware of his behaviour and failed to intervene and prevent Zahra from being injured.
“Zahra would have been six now, she would have started school and would be learning about the world around her, but instead her young life was cut short through violence inflicted by Jan, who should have been caring for her.”