Mother on social services safety plan found guilty of murdering 12-week-old son

A mother has been found guilty of the murder of her baby son who suffered injuries consistent with being shaken and striking his head on a hard surface.

Eloddie Goncalves (pictured left), 33, told a 999 call handler “my son is dead, he’s not moving”, prosecutor Karim Khalil KC told a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Khalil said paramedics who attended Goncalves’ flat in Harlow, Essex, at around 10am on August 19 2020 found 12-week-old Malik Goncalves dead.

“While the flat was being examined, several empty bottles of wine were found both inside and outside in the communal gardens,” Mr Khalil added.

He said the prosecution case was that Goncalves assaulted Malik “violently by shaking him and by striking his head against one or more hard surfaces, causing multiple fractures and most importantly traumatic brain injuries”.

The prosecutor said a social services safety plan, signed by Goncalves and Muritala Olaiya-Imam, who said at the time he was the boy’s father, was in place.

Mr Khalil said Olaiya-Imam (pictured right), 37, “said he was the father… although subsequent DNA tests have revealed he was not”.

The plan had stipulated that Goncalves, who has mental health issues, was not to drink alcohol, was not to be left alone with her child and Olaiya-Imam was to contact police if Goncalves was under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Khalil said that when emergency services attended the flat on August 19, Olaiya-Imam was not there but arrived later.

Goncalves, formerly of Joyners Field, Harlow, denied murder but was found guilty following a trial, Essex Police said.

She was also found guilty of assaulting an emergency worker who was trying to help Malik, the force said.

Olaiya-Imam, whose address cannot be reported for legal reasons, denied allowing the death of a child by leaving Malik alone with his mother, but was found guilty, Essex Police said.

Mr Khalil said he “was or ought to have been aware of that risk” and “he should have been there to protect”.

Both defendants denied cruelty to a child, which Mr Khalil said related to “older injuries” found when Malik was examined after his death, and both were found guilty, police said.

They were also found guilty of an act intending to pervert the course of justice, which Mr Khalil said related to a urine sample that Goncalves was asked to provide while at hospital after Malik’s death.

Mr Khalil said the sample was “contaminated”, adding that urine from both defendants was found in it.

“We say their act to corrupt that sample was done to interfere with the police investigation,” Mr Khalil added.

He said that a back calculation on a blood sample from Goncalves estimated that at 10am on August 19 she was around one-and-a-half times over the legal drink-drive limit.

There were also “constituents of cannabis” in the blood sample, Mr Khalil said.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, who led the investigation, said afterwards: “The death of a young child is and will always be immensely tragic and our thoughts remain with Malik’s wider family at this difficult time.

“Malik died at the hands of those who should have cared for him most.

“I hope that today’s verdict will bring some comfort to the family.

“This lengthy, sensitive investigation was difficult for all those involved but I am proud that everyone acted with determined professionalism and focussed on what really mattered – securing justice for the death of their defenceless baby son.”

The pair will be sentenced at a later date.

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