Mother and partner who showed no remorse for murder of Daniel Pelka to serve at least 30 years in jail

Judge says four-year-old suffered incomprehensible brutality from Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek

Crime Correspondent

A judge told a couple who murdered a four-year-old boy after inflicting months of cruelty and starvation on him that they would serve a minimum of 30 years in prison. They had concocted detailed lies to try to avoid responsibility for their horrific crime.

Magdelena Luczak, 27, and Mariusz Krezolek, 34, showed no emotion as they were told they had carried out “unimaginable acts of cruelty and brutality” and had shown callous disregard for the distress of the little boy who was starved, force-fed salt and severely punished.

Mrs Justice Cox said that Daniel Pelka had been starved so badly that his condition on his death, weighing just 11kg, was unprecedented; and yet the couple had shown no sign of remorse.

Luczak, the boy’s mother, and her partner Krezolek were both found guilty of murder on Wednesday after a nine-week trial.

After telling social services and health workers that Daniel’s emaciated appearance was caused by an eating disorder, they had blamed each other for his treatment at the trial. 

“Time and again, knowing exactly what you were doing to him, both of you concealed your conduct from the authorities by a series of deliberate and elaborate lies, designed to put them off the scent and to prevent them from discovering Daniel’s true plight,” the judge told the couple at Birmingham Crown Court. “Your expressions of regret and sorrow made now ring hollow in the circumstances of this case.”

Daniel appeared to be a healthy boy when he started school in September 2011 but his condition rapidly worsened over the following weeks, until teachers saw him searching through dustbins for sustenance and stealing food from other pupils.

The judge said the reasons behind the escalation of the brutality were “unfathomable”, with the child suffering from hunger and hopelessness up until the moment that he died. “The scale of his suffering was truly horrific,” the judge said.

After his last day at school, Daniel was beaten by Krezolek and suffered a fatal head injury but the couple failed to call for any help despite conducting online searches into the care of a patient in a coma. Then they slept. The judge said that the former soldier was also responsible for breaking the boy’s arm 14 months before he died.

The judge told the pair: “You are in breach of what is probably the most important position of trust, as the parents of a small child who was entitled to protection, love and care.”

A serious case review is expected to report back in six weeks on the lessons learned from the case after more than seven attempts to identify and stop the abuse were missed by a range of professionals. Geoffrey Robinson, the MP for Coventry North West, has said Daniel was “badly let down” not just by “an evil stepfather and an indifferent and selfish mother” but also by his school, health professionals and social services.

He has called for Colin Green, Coventry’s director of children’s services, to resign immediately, saying: “He takes with him the indelible stain of Daniel’s cruel death, which his department had failed to prevent.”

Mr Green was due to step down in September, following an assessment by Ofsted earlier in the year that ranked the city’s primary schools as the worst in the country.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links