London - A young boy was beaten to death by his ‘raging’ stepfather after losing his trainer while playing in a park, a court was told on Thursday.
Alex Malcolm, five, suffered fatal injuries at the hands of burly Marvyn Iheanacho, it is alleged.
One eyewitness claims they heard the child saying ‘sorry’ to Iheanacho before a flurry of ‘booming noises’ as he unleashed up to eight punches.
Iheanacho then took the unconscious boy home and attacked Alex’s mother when she tried to dial 999.
Opening the murder trial, prosecutor Eleanor Laws said Iheanacho should have been looking after the small child, who had just completed a photographic portfolio in the hope of gaining modelling work, but instead ‘lost his temper and violently assaulted’ him, punching him against a park gate and leaving him with fatal head and stomach injuries.
She added: ‘The defendant is a man who has, ever since, done his best to avoid being held accountable for those injuries.’
Woolwich Crown Court was told that Iheanacho flew into a rage and violently attacked the boy in Mountsfield Park, in south-east London, on November 20. He had taken Alex with him to pick up some DVDs and visit a friend in Catford.
On the way they stopped at a park and it is alleged that Iheanacho lost his temper when Alex could not find his shoe. Mrs Laws read from an eyewitness statement from Sarah Strugnell. She said: ‘The defendant lost his temper with the boy, most likely because Alex had lost his trainer.
‘The defendant appeared to bend down to the child and ask where the child’s shoes were. The child appeared to indicate that the shoes were in the park. The man was very angry indeed and Sarah Strugnell describes how he was raging at the child, who was keeping very quiet.
‘Her partner recalls hearing loud banging and a male voice screaming about the loss of shoes and a child’s fearful voice saying “sorry”. Soon after this, she describes repeated booming noises and the gate vigorously moving. It is the prosecution case that this banging could well have been from repeated assaults upon Alex.’
The jury was told there is CCTV footage of the pair entering the park at 5.11pm and Iheanacho, from Hounslow, leaving 90 minutes later holding the boy in a ‘fireman’s lift’.
Iheanacho took Alex, who was unconscious, into the office of Lewisham Cars and asked for a cab to take him home. When they arrived, Alex’s mother, Lilya Breha, tried to call an ambulance but Iheanacho is accused of viciously attacking her before giving Alex a bath. Mrs Laws said: ‘It is of note that he did not take Alex to hospital, which was just 0.2 miles away from the cab office, just a five-minute walk.’
Mrs Laws added: ‘Lilya was screaming. The defendant told her to stop. She called him a danger to her family, whereupon he assaulted her.
‘He kneed her hard in the chest, then jumped on her back and started to choke her.’
Eventually, at 8.30pm, Lilya managed to call the emergency services. When Iheanacho was asked by the medics what had happened to Alex, he claimed that the boy had fallen off a climbing frame.
Doctors at Lewisham Hospital attempted to resuscitate the little boy. He was placed on a ventilator and a CT scan later revealed that he was suffering from severe brain swelling.
A decision was taken to transfer him to King’s College Hospital for specialist surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain. But it was not successful and Alex was pronounced dead two days later.
When interviewed by police under caution about the events, Iheanacho made no comment.
He has pleaded not guilty to murder. The trial continues.