Probation staff were overstretched when a violent convict murdered his partner’s child, an inquest has heard.
Alex Malcolm, five, was killed by Marvyn Iheanacho, who flew into a rage after the boy lost a trainer in a park in Catford, south-east London, in 2016.
Iheanacho had a string of previous convictions for violent offences.
At the time, he was under supervision by the National Probation Service (NPS) having been released from prison less than six months earlier.
Probation workers in London were dealing with an estimated 5-10% increase in their caseload following a major restructure in 2014, a probation official told Southwark Coroner’s Court.
Andrew Blight, of NPS in London, told the jury recruitment had been a “struggle” and “staff morale was low”.
He added: “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.”
‘History of violence’
Alex died from head and stomach injuries following the attack in November 2016.
Iheanacho was convicted of his murder in 2017 and jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years, which was later increased to a minimum of 21.
An NPS report following Alex’s death found Iheanacho had a “history of violence against members of the public and partners”.
It said he used violence against girlfriends to exert “power, respect and control”.
As part of his probation agreement, Iheanacho’s case workers were supposed to be made aware of any new developing relationships.
The child’s mother, Lilya Breha, previously told the inquest the probation service had not warned her about her partner’s violent history, or asked if she had children.
Officers personally involved in Iheanacho’s case are due to give evidence at a later date.
The inquest continues.