June 16th, 2024

Ibrahim Ali sticks fingers in ears as girl’s dad tells murder sentencing of torment

By Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press on June 7, 2024.

The Law Courts building, which is home to B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is seen in Vancouver, on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – A man convicted of murdering a 13-year-old British Columbia girl stuck his fingers in his ears during a victim impact statement by the girl’s father, who said he contemplated suicide after being told of her death.

The family of the girl killed by Ibrahim Ali told the B.C. Supreme Court sentencing hearing of their overwhelming grief, with her father saying he bashed his head against a wall until he was streaming with blood.

The girl’s brother had earlier told the hearing that his mother was “utterly destroyed” by the girl’s death, and that he was haunted by his final text messages to her, when he said he was unkind.

None of the relatives can be named because of a publication ban on identifying the victim, who was found dead in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017.

The father, who delivered a recorded impact statement by video, described how he was in China when he first heard that his daughter was missing, then was found dead.

“I felt like a light suddenly went out “¦ my mind went black,” the man said. He said he hid in his bathroom and contemplated suicide, and that he bashed his head on a wall “until blood streamed down my face and I couldn’t stand.”

Ali, who attended the hearing by video link, was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury last December, and faces a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

He listened to some of the family’s statements through an interpreter, but during parts of the father’s statement, he hung up a phone to his interpreter and stuck his fingers in his ears.

The brother held his head in his hands during parts of his father’s statement.

The father said that the grass on his daughter’s grave was dry despite his efforts to water it.

“The grass hasn’t turned green for seven years,” he said, before addressing his daughter.

“Your mom, brother and daddy – we all loved you very much and all of us wanted to protect you, but we were not able to do so.”

The father said there was “no trace of happiness or unhappiness” in the verdict, describing the trial process as “too long” and “too torturous.”

“Even falling asleep, I would suffer from nightmares. It would make me scream, howling,” he said.

The brother earlier carried a photo of the girl to the witness box to deliver his statement.

He said his sister was raped and killed, then “maligned” during the murder trial.

Ali’s lawyers had suggested during the trial that the presence of Ali’s DNA inside the girl could have been because of consensual sex.

“She was the world to my mother and in those few short hours, her world was lying cold and dead,” he said.

Since the killing, his mother had completely “withdrawn from herself,” he told the court.

He described his last text exchanges with his sister.

“(In) those moments I chose to be cold and curt. Last words have a lot of meaning and my last words to her were dismissive and uncaring,” he said.

The man said the murder changed his sense of safety and community and he has considered not having children because it’s hard to imagine bringing them into a world “when there are very real monsters out there who would hurt them.”

A jury took less that 24 hours to find Ali guilty.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.

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