Starved, beaten, poisoned: The tragic death of Daniel Pelka at hands of mother and partner
Mother and her partner ‘took relish’ in reign of torture that led to murder of four-year-old boy
A couple who battered the woman’s four-year-old son and left him to die in a locked, unheated box room have been convicted of murder.
The woman and her partner starved Daniel Pelka for months and force-fed him salt during a campaign of physical abuse. A serious case review will now try to establish why a number of opportunities to save the boy’s life were missed by authorities, who were convinced by his killers that he was suffering from a rare eating disorder.
Fourteen months before he died in March last year, Daniel became the focus of a police inquiry after his arm was broken. But the file was closed when his killers convinced officers that he hurt himself when he jumped from a sofa at their home in Coventry.
Just weeks before his death, the boy was sent to school with black eyes and was described as a “bag of bones”. When he was at home, he was punished with arduous exercises and locked in a tiny room with no food or sanitation.
The couple claimed Daniel had an eating disorder
Magdelena Luczak, 27, and former soldier Mariusz Krezolek, 34, who were from Poland, showed no emotion after they were found guilty of murder at Birmingham Crown Court.
The couple, who were heavy drinkers and abused drugs, had blamed each other for the boy’s death but text messages revealed they worked as a team to inflict the injuries. The messages showed they “took relish” in the abuse.
The pair carried out searches on their computer which suggested Daniel was beaten, almost drowned and poisoned with salt.
The court heard that he was a healthy boy when he started school in September 2011 but was subjected to suffering that left him resembling a concentration camp victim by the time he died seven months later.
Daniel, who weighed less than 11kgs and was in a state of “skeletal emaciation” when he died, had been seen by a paediatrician three weeks before he was found dead who reported that he was underweight but not “wasted”.
In evidence, the couple admitted they had gone to sleep on both nights that Daniel lay dying in the box room, and even had sex after his death.
In a statement released by police, Eryk Pelka, Daniel’s biological father, said: “It’s a great tragedy that such a little angel had to leave this world. I hope that those responsible will be punished severely.”
The couple will be sentenced on Friday.
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election