A man has been told he must serve a minimum of 22 years in prison for the “brutal, merciless and outrageous” murder of his five-year-old stepdaughter.

Nadia Zofia Kalinowska died after she was found with multiple injuries at her family home in Fernagh Drive, Newtownabbey, in December 2019.

At Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Justice O’Hara sentenced Abdul Wahab, 35, for repeatedly attacking and beating Nadia, who had suffered more than 70 injuries, including a fractured skull, over many months.

Nadia’s mother, Aleksandra Wahab, 29, was sentenced to 11 years, half to be served in custody, for allowing the death of a child and allowing a child to suffer serious physical harm.

The Wahabs, of Fernagh Drive, were both originally charged with murder.


Earlier this year, Mr Wahab pleaded guilty to the murder of Nadia as well as two charges of grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mrs Wahab had also changed her pleas to guilty.

At the time of their initial arrests, the Wahabs both claimed Nadia’s death was accidental.

Setting out the background to the case, Mr Justice O’Hara said an ambulance had been called to the Wahab home on December 15 2019 and the crew found Nadia unconscious. The only other people in the house were Mr and Mrs Wahab and their two-year-old son.

She later died in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

The judge said Nadia had suffered a “horrific collection of injuries”.

This included more than 70 surface injuries and eight rib fractures, which he said could only have been caused by “a significant degree of destructive force”.

She also had a fractured collarbone, fractures of the pelvis, a fractured skull, liver and bowel lacerations and a perforated bowel.

He said these injuries would have been caused by “heavy blunt impacts”.

The judge said prosecution experts had concluded “she was repeatedly assaulted, that these injuries would have caused her obvious pain and distress and any half-observant parent would have known that”.

The judge also said that Mr Wahab now seeks to retract his guilty plea.


He said: “What he admitted to is entirely consistent with the overwhelming evidence against him.

“It is distressing and rather pathetic that he now seeks to disavow his guilty pleas.”

The judge continued: “What Mr Wahab did to Nadia was brutal, merciless and outrageous.

“The contrast with his untouched son, who was then only two years old, is dramatic and shocking.

“I do not believe in any way that Nadia’s injuries relate to her being clumsy or accident prone.

“They are all explained and only explained by a sustained cruelty which his wife knew about and allowed to happen and continue to happen.”

Mr Wahab had already been given an automatic life sentence but was told he could not be considered for release for 22 years.

He was given concurrent sentences for the two GBH offences.

Turning to Mrs Wahab, Mr Justice O’Hara said: “I do not accept for a second that she did not know that Nadia was being repeatedly attacked and beaten by her husband.”

Laganside courtThe Public Prosecution Service said it had been a deeply distressing case (Liam McBurney/PA)

The judge continued: “The unavoidable truth for every parent or adult is that we have an absolute duty to protect children from harm.

“Mrs Wahab brought Nadia into this world but did not do that.

“She completely failed Nadia and for that she must be punished.”

She was sentenced to 11 years, with half to be served in custody.

Public Prosecution Service assistant director Ciaran McQuillan said it had been a “deeply distressing case”.

He added: “Both defendants maintained throughout the case until close to trial that Nadia was injured accidently.

“This, the prosecution argued, was clearly a lie given the sheer number and magnitude of the injuries.

“Every murder is abhorrent, but this was an especially sickening and brutal murder of a young child.”