By CHARLOTTE MEREDITH
A “CALLOUS and wretched” mother and stepfather have been jailed for a minimum of 30 years today after brutally murdering a defenceless four-year-old boy who was systematically starved and tortured under the noses of his teachers and health professionals.
Magdelena Luczak, 27 and her partner Mariusz Krezolek, have been found guilty of murdering Daniel
Magdelena Luczak, 27, and her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, 34 were described as heartless “monsters” during the disturbing nine-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
The vile pair now face life sentences with a minimum of 30 years in jail for their “incomprehensible cruelty” to their own son.
Sentencing the pair following their trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the judge told the Polish nationals: “Over the nine weeks of acutely distressing evidence I have not observed a single sign of genuine remorse at any stage from either of you.”
The horrific nature of little Daniel’s death has once again raised furious questions about the protection of Britain’s most vulnerable children.
There has been a public outcry since the case – which has echoes of the murders of Baby P, Victoria Climbie and, tragically, many others – first came light.
This week, the court found that the “beautiful and bright-eyed little boy” was reduced to a “broken bag of bones” after months of abuse at the hands of the sick parents.
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 on March 1 last year.
Former soldier Krezolek 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.
Jurors wept during the trial as they heard how the pair even opted not to summon an ambulance as Daniel lay dying with more than 20 separate injuries.
Eleven of the 12 jurors who found Luczak and Krezolek guilty of murder returned to the court today to see them receive mandatory life terms.
One of the jurors wiped away tears as the judge described the ill-treatment of Daniel during her sentencing remarks.
But Luczak and Krezolek simply started straight ahead and listened to their interpreters in the dock, as the judge told them: “As the trial has progressed, harrowing details of the unimaginable acts of cruelty and brutality inflicted on little Daniel, over many months, have exposed both the torment and despair he must have suffered and your callous disregard for his pain and distress.
“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 discovering Daniel’s true plight.”
The urine stained mattress Daniel Pelka was forced to sleep on during his confinement
The judge added that a determination to lie and to protect themselves at all costs had been the “hallmark” of the defendants’ conduct during their campaign of cruelty.
“For reasons which are unfathomable, Daniel became a target for derision, abuse and systematic cruelty, designed to cause him significant mental and physical suffering.
“The scale of his suffering was truly horrific.”
Outside the court today, CPS Lisa Windridge said: “Today these two people have been sentenced for this heinous crime against a vulnerable little four year old boy.
“Daniel Pelka had the ultimate trust breach by his mother and father.
“We hope the sentence today brings closure to this case for the family of Daniel both in England and abroad.
“This has been a very difficult case for all of those involved in it, we are pleased justice has finally been achieved for Daniel Pelka.”
The handle on the inside of the door was removed by Mariusz Krezolek to prevent Daniel leaving
The pair, both originally from Poland, forced Daniel to perform arduous punishment exercises such as squats or running, while hoodwinking teachers and doctors into believing his weight loss was due to an eating disorder.
Daniel’s death, which occurred weeks after teaching staff saw him with bruising to his neck and black eyes, is currently being reviewed by Coventry’s Safeguarding Children Board.
The board’s serious case review will examine why social services and police did not become involved after staff at Coventry’s Little Heath Primary School noticed bruising on his neck and what appeared to be two black eyes.
Although the injuries to the neck were entered in a concerns book at Daniel’s school, no written record was made of the later bruising seen around his eyes.
The trial heard that Luczak played a leading role in convincing teachers and medical professionals that Daniel’s dramatic weight loss, which left him looking like a famine victim, was due to a rare genetic disorder.
A computer generated image of Daniel Pelka displaying the injuries sustained by him
The pair also carried out Google searches – including one for “patient in a coma” – which suggested the youngster had been beaten, subjected to an attempted drowning, and poisoned with salt during his final hours.
Krezolek went online to check his bank account and the price of car tyres after Daniel, who was in a state of “skeletal emaciation” and weighed just 1 stone 9 lbs, was repeatedly struck around the head, causing his brain to swell.
Although he should been around 3ft 9ins, he was only 3ft 3ins because his bones had stopped growing due to food deprivation over at least three months and possibly up to nine months.
The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said the case underlines the need for all agencies to communicate and work closely together.