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Mother 'bid to keep bruises secret'

A mother accused of starving and killing her son has told a court she cannot understand why she allowed her partner to deprive him of food.

Magdelena Luczak, who denies the murder of four-year-old Daniel Pelka, also alleged that the child was mistreated by his stepfather, Mariusz Krezolek, from October 2011 until his death in March last year.

Luczak, 27, told Birmingham Crown Court on Monday that Daniel died two days after being beaten about the head by Krezolek, who also denies murder. Luczak and Krezolek, 34, are both alleged to have killed Daniel during an "incomprehensible" and escalating campaign of cruelty at their house in Coventry.

Giving evidence for a second day during her trial, Luczak was asked by Krezolek's barrister why she had not taken Daniel to a doctor as he lost weight.

Luczak, who came to the UK from Poland in 2006, said: "Because Daniel would always have a lot of bruises. I tried to make it secret, what was happening to him - that is why I didn't go to the doctor's."

Krezolek's QC, Nigel Lambert, asked Luczak: "Why on earth would you do that to your son?"

Speaking through a Polish interpreter, Luczak replied: "I don't know myself. I don't understand my behaviour. It wasn't me, it was Mariusz but I knew what was happening. I myself don't understand my actions. I must have loved Mariusz to allow such a thing."

Luczak previously told jurors that her partner also tried to strangle her as he twice attacked Daniel in a bedroom and a box room at their home.

Giving evidence on what would have been Daniel's sixth birthday, Luczak claimed to have witnessed the separate assaults on her son after hearing him screaming on the afternoon of Thursday, March 1 last year. The court has heard that an ambulance was not called for Daniel until shortly after 3am on Saturday, March 3.

Luczak rejected Mr Lambert's suggestion that she rather than Krezolek had been in the "driving seat" during Daniel's ill-treatment. "If I think soberly about it, I should have left but I didn't do it," she told him. "I always gave him a chance. I wanted the relationship to work." Asked why she had not told staff at Daniel's school about what was happening to him, Luczak said: "They would blame me. They would say that for so many months he was hit and I have not notified them about it. I should have done it but I didn't do it." The trial was adjourned until Wednesday.

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