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.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home