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
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey
film
Sport
Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane
football
News
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
News
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
Sport
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
News
The spider makes its break for freedom
VIDEO
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
people
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United player ratings
Life and Style
love + sex
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot