Pair guilty of ‘starved’ 4-year-old boy’s murder

A “CALLOUS and wretched” mother and stepfather are facing life sentences for murdering a four-year-old schoolboy who was systematically starved under the noses of his teachers and health professionals.

Daniel Pelka was battered to death by his mother and stepfather. Picture: PA

The “incomprehensible” murder of Daniel Pelka by Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek, which has chilling echoes of the 2007 death of 17-month-old Baby P, is the subject of a serious case review.

Jurors took under four hours to unanimously convict Luczak and Krezolek following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

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The couple battered Daniel to death after a six-month campaign of cruelty in which he was denied food, “imprisoned” in a locked room and force-fed salt.

Both originally from Poland, the pair also forced Daniel to perform arduous punishment exercises such as squats or running, while tricking teachers and doctors into believing his weight loss was due to an eating disorder.

The boy’s murder, which occurred weeks after teaching staff saw him with bruising to his neck and black eyes, is being reviewed by Coventry’s Safeguarding Children Board.

The serious case review will examine why social services and police did not become involved after staff at Coventry’s Little Heath Primary School noticed the injuries.

The trial heard that Luczak played a leading role in convincing teachers and medical professionals that Daniel’s dramatic weight loss was due to a rare genetic disorder.

Neither Krezolek nor Luczak, who face mandatory life terms when they are sentenced tomorrow, showed any obvious emotion as they were found guilty.

Jurors heard that Daniel was left to die in his unheated “cell” for around 33 hours after suffering a fatal head injury at his Coventry home in March last year.

Former soldier Krezolek – described in court as a heartless “monster” – and Luczak blamed each other for Daniel’s death during their trial.

But text messages between the pair proved they worked as a team to inflict the sickening abuse and even opted not to summon an ambulance as Daniel lay dying with more than 20 separate injuries.

The pair also carried out Google searches – including one for “patient in a coma” – which suggested Daniel had been beaten, subjected to an attempted drowning and poisoned with salt during his final hours.

Krezolek, by his own admission, also went online to check his bank account and the price of car tyres after Daniel, who weighed just 1 stone 9lb, was repeatedly struck around the head, causing his brain to swell.

The serious case review is also expected to look into contact between doctors and Daniel, who was seen by a community paediatrician and found to be underweight but not “wasted” three weeks before his death.

Medical records show Daniel weighed 14.8kg (2 stone 4lb) in January 2011 and 13.8kg three weeks before his death.

But the schoolboy, who had developed normally until January 2011, weighed just 10.7kg and was in a state of “skeletal emaciation” at the time of his death.

The senior investigating officer in the case, Detective Inspector Chris Hanson, described the murder as an “unforgivable and heartbreaking” betrayal of trust.

The officer said: “Those with the ultimate duty of care turned Daniel from a beautiful and bright-eyed little boy into a broken bag of bones.

“It was a callous and wretched murder. After a savage beating they left him, starving, locked in a room in the dark to die on his own.”