Man gets 18 years for battering boy, 5, to death over lost shoe

A man who battered a five-year-old boy to death in a park in England for losing a trainer has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years.

Marvyn Iheanacho, 39, flew into a rage and subjected his girlfriend's son, Alex Malcolm, to a brutal attack in Mountsfield Park in Catford, south-east London.

He was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court by Judge Mark Dennis QC, who said the child killer has a "deeply entrenched character flaw" that leads him to overreact and lose his temper.

Iheanacho was sentenced to 18 years but, due to time served on remand, the judge said he would serve at least 17 years and 119 days.

Marvyn Iheanacho.

Witnesses heard a child's fearful voice saying "sorry", loud banging and a man screaming about the loss of a shoe.

Alex suffered fatal head and stomach injuries and died in hospital two days later.

One of his trainers was later found in the play area by police.

Iheanacho, who was in a relationship with Alex's mother Lilya Breha, had a "wholly and unnecessary loss of temper", Judge Dennis said.

"The red mist having come down upon you when you discovered that Alex had dropped his shoe," he said.

The judge said Iheanacho did nothing to raise the alarm or to get medical help.

He said it is apparent that Iheanacho, from Hounslow, west London, has a "deeply entrenched character flaw", adding: "One that leads you to overreact and lose your temper."

Judge Dennis said that when the violence had subsided, Iheanacho's thought turned to "protecting yourself and trying to cover up" what had happened.

"Only this time the consequences of your violence were more serious than ever before," he said.

The judge added: "You used your undoubted strength and simple brute force."

He said he was a "strong and overpowering figure" next to Alex who was "completely defenceless", adding: "The child had done nothing that would justify any loss of temper, never mind a violent loss of temper."

The judge said Iheanacho had given fake and misleading accounts to paramedics, hospital staff and police.

"All this to protect yourself and cover up what you had done," he said.

The judge said there has been a "disturbing pattern of sudden and violent behaviour" when Iheanacho is frustrated and not getting his own way.

Iheanacho has a string of previous convictions for violent offences, including attacks on ex-partners and robbery.

The judge said: "Sadly the truth appears to be you simply can't help yourself."

Alex's head, neck and body were covered with bruises after the attack on November 20 last year.

Iheanacho carried the unconscious boy to a minicab office and took him to Ms Breha's flat, while the nearest hospital was just a five-minute walk away.

He then attacked Ms Breha when she tried to call an ambulance, but she managed to grab the phone after noticing her son was getting cold, his face had turned blue and he had stopped breathing.

Doctors at Lewisham Hospital tried to resuscitate Alex, but a CT scan showed he was suffering from severe brain swelling, and he was transferred to King's College Hospital.

He was pronounced dead on November 22 after an unsuccessful operation.

It emerged during the trial that Iheanacho had phoned Ms Breha from prison to pressure her to back him up in court.

"There have been problems with witness interference. The defendant has phoned the mother of the deceased," said prosecutor Eleanor Laws QC.

"We would say pressure is being exerted on the mother of the deceased, with the defendant pressing upon her his defence of accident."

More in this Section

Thousands get UK citizenship after furore over treatment of Windrush generation

Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Elizabeth Warren urge end to Electoral College

Trump praises Brazil’s ‘incredible’ far-right president at White House

Drink-driver caught in act by own dash cam footage after traffic lights crash


The mother of all gifts: Here are some ideas for how to treat your mum this Mother's Day

Blue Planet: Diving in for live show

GameTech: Looted and booted for ‘Fortnite 8’

Am I too old for great sex with a new man?

More From The Irish Examiner