A stepfather is facing a life sentence after battering a five-year-old boy to death in a park for losing a trainer.
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.
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, was convicted of murder at Woolwich crown court. The jury of seven men and five women returned a unanimous guilty verdict on Friday.
Breha nodded as the verdict was announced and quietly wept in court.
Iheanacho, from Hounslow, west London, has a string of previous convictions for violent offences, including attacks on former partners and robbery.
Judge Mark Dennis QC deferred sentencing until Tuesday.
Iheanacho, who was known to Alex as “Daddy Mills”, admitted beating the boy before, in a note in his diary which read: “Do I really love Alex, five years old small cute lil boy.
“Who want nothing more, than daddy mills to love him protect him but most of all keep him from harm – even though I had to beat him just now for sicking up in the cab – why why why I say – so the answer is yes yes yes I love him and like with all my heart but may not enough.”
Alex’s head, neck, and body were covered with bruises after the attack on 20 November last year.
Iheanacho carried the unconscious boy to a minicab office and took him to Breha’s flat, while the nearest hospital was just a five-minute walk away.
Breha has described how he then attacked her when she tried to call an ambulance.
She said she started screaming when she saw Alex was “unconscious and his face was disgusting”.
She told the court that she kept on shouting at Iheanacho: “What have you done?”
Breha said Iheanacho, whom she had started dating in June, and had thought was a good father figure to her son, had hit her with the “hardest punch I had had in my life”.
She told the jury he “tried to strangle me. Pretty much his intention was to try to kill me, is all I can say”.
But she grabbed 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 revealed he was suffering from severe brain swelling, and he was transferred to King’s College hospital.
He was pronounced dead on 22 November after an unsuccessful operation.
Iheanacho gave several different accounts of how the horrific injuries were caused, including that Alex fell off a climbing frame, which were all rejected by the jury.
Breha described being with her little boy as he lay in the hospital during his final moments alive.
She said in a statement: “Alex was so small but he was my strength and my purpose for living. The hardest thing I have ever had to hear was that my c “Lying next to him in a hospital and praying that everything would be fine, that he will open his eyes. I didn’t even get to tell him I love him. All I got was to put my hand on his chest and feel every single one of his final heartbeats.”
DCI Tony Lynes said: “Iheanacho subjected that poor little boy to a brutal assault after flying into an uncontrollable rage just because Alex lost one of his shoes.
“Afterwards Iheanacho came up with various stories to try to cover his tracks, insisted his girlfriend lie for him and attacked her when she tried to get medical help for her unconscious son.
“It is no surprise the jury easily saw through his stories and while nothing can bring Alex back, I hope Iheanacho’s conviction today provides his mother and father and their families with some comfort.”
hild died. I remember it like it was yesterday.