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Boy of 4 was starved, beaten and left to die by his callous parents

By Matthew Cooper

A "callous and wretched" mother and stepfather are facing life sentences for murdering a four-year-old schoolboy who was systematically starved under the noses of his teachers and health professionals.

The "incomprehensible" murder of Daniel Pelka by Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek, which has chilling echoes of the 2007 death of 17-month-old Baby P, is the subject of a serious case review.

Jurors took under four hours to unanimously convict Luczak and Krezolek following a nine-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The couple battered Daniel to death after a six-month campaign of cruelty in which he was denied food, "imprisoned" in a locked box room and force-fed salt.

Both originally from Poland, the pair also 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.

The boy's murder, weeks after teaching staff saw him with bruising to his neck and black eyes, is 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 saw bruising on his neck and what appeared to be two black eyes.

The trial heard Luczak convinced teachers and medics that Daniel's dramatic weight loss was due to a rare genetic disorder.

Neither Krezolek nor Luczak, who face mandatory life terms when they are sentenced tomorrow, showed any obvious emotion as they were found guilty.

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 – described in court as a heartless "monster" – and Luczak blamed each other for Daniel's death.

But text messages between the pair proved they worked as a team to inflict the abuse and even opted not to summon an ambulance as Daniel lay dying with more than 20 separate injuries.

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