A murderer who beat his five-year-old stepson to death for losing a shoe should have been living in secure accommodation at the time, the probation service has admitted.
Malcolm Iheanacho was jailed for life for killing little Alex Malcolm in a murder that ‘should never have happened.’
An inquest was told that the 41-year-old has previous convictions for violence against women and children.
In 2010, he dropped an eight-month-old baby he was holding as he threatened the child’s mother with a knife.
He then punched her 13-year-old son in the mouth after the boy stepped in to protect his mother.
At the time of Alex’s murder, Iheanacho was being supervised by the probation service and should have been in secure accommodation, a court was told.
But a shortage of spaces for ‘high risk cases’ meant that he had been living at his sister’s address before Alex was killed in November 2016.
Head of Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond probation, James Jolly, told the inquest: ‘We should have referred to a higher risk premises that time.’
The inquest at Southwark Coroner’s Court is determining whether a system failure was responsible for Alex’s death.
The court was told that Iheanacho began a relationship with Alex’s mother while he was in jail for another assault on a woman.
He had known Lilya Breha for less than a year before he killed her son.
She previously told the hearing in London that the probation service had not warned her about her partner’s violent history, or asked if she had children.
The murder happened when Alex lost his trainer while chasing foxes around Mountsfield Park in Hither Green, southeast London.
Iheanacho was then heard to say: ‘You are f***ing joking’ and started punching Alex with such sickening force that the witness thought she could hear ‘sparring’
Alex sobbed: ‘I’m sorry’ repeatedly but Iheanacho did not stop until the boy was unconscious.
Iheanacho carried his limp body through Catford to a taxi stand where he took a cab back home despite Lewisham Hospital being just minutes away.
Paramedics were eventually called out to Miss Breha’s Bromley home at 8.30pm and Alex was rushed to Lewisham Hospital.
A post-mortem revealed 22 separate areas of bruising and an internal abdominal impact injury.
Iheanacho was convicted of the murder and given 18 years by Judge Mark Dennis, after a trial at Woolwich Crown Court, in July 2017.
That was later increased to 21 years by the Court of Appeal.
Mr Jolly said he thought that the probation service had some ‘workload failures but added that ‘the service was safe.’
The inquest continues.