A man who killed his ex-girlfriend’s son faces an increased sentence of at least 16 years, the Court of Appeal ruled today.

Senior judges ruled that the original sentence of 13 years of Sharyar Ali’s life sentence for the murder of Hunter McGleenon in Keady, Co Armagh, was unfair.

Based on medical evidence, Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan said the 11-month-old had been subjected to “unnecessary violence”.

The ruling resulted from a challenge by the State Prosecutor’s Office (OM) against the originally imposed prison sentence. Hunter died in November 2019 from non-accidental injuries to his head and abdomen.

Ali, with an address at Westenra Terrace in Monaghan, was in a relationship with the boy’s mother, Nicole, and looked after him while she visited her dying grandmother.

He initially claimed the child had fallen off a low couch and hit his head on a concrete floor, but pleaded guilty to murder last year when he was due to stand trial.

Pathology reports indicated that Hunter was subjected to a violent attack and suffered severe head injuries and bruising from multiple blunt force blows.

Although Ali never explained how the wounds were caused, he told police he hit or shook the child as part of the resuscitation effort.

During interviews, the Pakistani also admitted to leaving the fighter unattended in a car while he spent two hours in a casino.

Ali’s sentence was originally set at 13 years after a so-called “Rooney” trial, which reported the sentence if he confessed.

The prosecutor’s lawyer argued that his previous clear criminal record was overstated, while not giving enough weight to the aggravating circumstances in the “overwhelming case” against him. Hunter’s murder has been described as one of the most serious murders imaginable.

In support of these arguments, the court ruled that the investigating magistrate had overestimated the mitigation and used the wrong starting point to pronounce the sentence.

Dame Siobhan pointed out that Ali never explained how the child died and gave “very skeptical” accounts of the surrounding events.

“This case can be characterized by senseless violence,” the chief justice said.

“This assessment of the murder is easily confirmed by the depiction of the body chart, which vividly depicts the child’s multiple injuries.”

For the latest news, visit The Postedia homepage here and sign up for our daily newsletter here.