Child killer says probation service should have done more to safeguard victims

A man who murdered his partner’s child has said the probation service should have done more to protect his victims.

Alex Malcolm, five, suffered fatal head injuries after being battered in a south London park by Marvyn Iheanacho, who flew into a rage at the little boy for losing a trainer.

Iheanacho, then-boyfriend of Alex’s mother, Lilya Breha, had a string of previous convictions for violent offences, including attacks on former girlfriends.

Marvyn Iheanacho
A letter from Marvyn Iheanacho was read to the inquest (Metropolitan Police/PA)

At the time of the incident in 2016, he was under supervision from the National Probation Service (NPS), having been released from prison less than six months earlier.

In a letter read to the jury for the inquest into Alex’s death, Iheanacho said: “My probation worker did not do enough to help me settle down again.

“Why did my probation officer not inform Lilya […] perhaps if she had, things might be very different.”

In the note, written from prison in 2017, Iheanacho also said probation staff were aware of his temper, and issues with drugs and alcohol, adding: “She should have done more.”

As part of his probation agreement, Iheanacho’s case workers were supposed to be made aware of any new developing relationships.

Lilya Breha previously told the inquest that the probation service had not warned her of her partner’s violent history, or asked if she had children.

Lilya Breha
Lilya Breha was Alex Malcolm’s mother and Iheanacho’s former girlfriend (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Ms Breha, 32, told the court on Monday that case workers would laugh and joke with Iheanacho on the phone, adding: “I could see how lenient they were with him and I never thought there were any serious problems.”

A probation official previously told the hearing at Southwark Coroners Court that staff in London were overstretched and dealing with an estimated 5-10% increase in their case load.

This was following a major restructuring in 2014, which saw some work handed over to private firms, he said.

Andrew Blight, interim deputy divisional director of NPS in London, told the jury on Tuesday morning: “We had been struggling with recruitment since 2014, staff morale was low.

“Although it was two years after (the restructure), we were still working through a lot of the detail.

“The impact was still very, very much in effect, and very much being felt.”

He indicated that the issues are continuing half a decade later, adding “there were not enough case workers in most places,” something that is “still a problem” in the capital.

Officers personally involved in Iheanacho’s case will give evidence at a later date.

The inquest continues.

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