GRAVESEND, UK – A father has been found guilty of murdering his adopted two-year-old daughter by inflicting severe head injuries on her. The toddler, Zahra Ghulami, had suffered a skull fracture and was pronounced dead in the hospital two days after the incident at the family’s Gravesend home in May 2020.
Jan Gholami, 33, denied the accusations, claiming that she had fallen down the stairs. However, he was convicted of murder and child cruelty at Maidstone Crown Court, while his wife, Roqia Ghulami, 32, was acquitted of murder but found guilty of cruelty of a person under 16 in a unanimous verdict.
The court heard evidence of older injuries as well, including a skull fracture and a healing fracture to Zahra’s arm and shoulder blade. Despite Gholami claiming that he loved his children and would not hurt them, evidence of domestic abuse against his wife was also presented during the trial.
Zahra, described as a “bright, intelligent” child, had only been in the United Kingdom for a year after leaving Afghanistan. She was adopted by the couple in 2017 after her father, unable to care for her following his wife’s death, approved the adoption through village elders while Gholami was still in Afghanistan.
As Judge Mr. Justice Wall prepares to sentence Gholami on February 16, Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Ross Gurden expressed the tragedy of Zahra’s short life, stating that she had her life taken away from her by two people who had a responsibility to love and care for her.
The case serves as a reminder of the importance of justice for victims of child cruelty and domestic abuse, and the role that the legal system plays in holding offenders accountable for their actions.