30 years for Daniel Pelka's killers
A couple who left a four-year-old boy alone to die after subjecting him to months of "unprecedented" starvation and horrifying cruelty have both been jailed for at least 30 years.
Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek listened intently in the dock but showed no sign of emotion as Mrs Justice Cox condemned their "unfathomable" campaign of brutality against Daniel Pelka.
Daniel's mother and stepfather, both originally from Poland, were unanimously convicted of murder on Wednesday after blaming each other for the head injury which ultimately caused his death.
A nine-week trial heard that Daniel, whose death is the subject of a serious case review by Coventry's Safeguarding Children Board, weighed just 1 stone 9lbs when he died in March last year. During his final months, Daniel was denied food, forced to perform energy-sapping punishment exercises, confined in a locked box room, poisoned with salt and subjected to water torture.
The serious case review is investigating whether more could have been done to save Daniel, who was seen scavenging for food in bins at Coventry's Little Heath Primary School. The youngster, whose mother covered up the abuse by claiming he had an eating disorder, was also the subject of a social services inquiry after suffering a broken arm in January 2011.
Krezolek, 34, and Luczak, 27, were both jailed for life and ordered to serve minimum terms of 30 years before the Parole Board can even consider their release. In her sentencing remarks, Mrs Justice Cox said she believed Krezolek had deliberately broken Daniel's arm in January 2011 and inflicted his fatal head injury 14 months later.
The judge told Luczak and Krezolek: "Both of you constructed a careful and wholly untruthful account that Daniel had a serious eating disorder and learning difficulties, which he may have inherited and for which he was receiving medical treatment. This account was deliberately designed to prevent interference by school, medical and welfare personnel, and to perpetuate the brutality being meted out to him."
During the 30-hour period in which Daniel lay dying, Luczak and Krezolek chose not to call an ambulance, instead opting to carry on with their normal lives.
Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: "There is understandably a huge sense of public outrage and horror that this little boy should have endured so much cruelty during his tragically short life and questions are rightly being asked as to how his murderers could have been allowed to subject Daniel to such despicable torment.
"There are many brilliant professionals and citizens who are alert to the signs of abuse, whose timely actions to prevent harm never make the headlines. But, when adults are hell bent on destroying a child's life and doing all they can to deceive those around them, the criticality of questioning a child's behaviour and speaking out about it is more important than ever."