A man who subjected his partner’s two-year-old son to a “regime of brutality” before murdering him has been jailed for life with a minimum of 21 years.
Chevaze McGregor, 27, left Jeremiah Regis-Ngaujah with more than 100 injuries, including a skull fracture, broken ribs and a bite wound.
Prosecutor Sally Howes told Birmingham Crown Court Jeremiah was left “broken and battered”.
Jeremiah’s mother, Sindyann Regis, 25, previously admitted allowing the death.
She was jailed for three years and four months.
The court heard McGregor repeatedly struck his stepson with a rod and a belt at the boy’s Wednesfield home in Wolverhampton.
A heavy blow ultimately caused Jeremiah’s death.
Miss Howes told the court: “This is a case of a callous, sustained regime of brutality against a defenceless two-year-old in his own home.
“Jeremiah was left broken and battered with life-threatening injuries and as his life ebbed away moment by agonising moment, Chevaze McGregor stood by and watched, knowing full well what he had done.”
Judge Mr Justice Morris, told McGregor: “You were in a position of trust and you abused that trust in the most extreme manner.”
He told police because of his strong Christian beliefs he believed it was necessary to use physical punishment when the boy misbehaved.
In police interviews, the court heard, McGregor, who claimed not to remember hitting Jeremiah around the head, produced a letter in which he stated: “Sindyann does not discipline him so it must be me.
“The job of the parent is to correct. God gave us pain so we know to do the right thing.”
Prosecutor Sally Howes QC said McGregor formed a relationship with Regis after meeting her at a Pentecostal church when she was about seven months pregnant.
McGregor pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to murdering Jeremiah.