Pair face life for murder of boy, 4
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, which occurred 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 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 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. Neither Krezolek nor Luczak, who face mandatory life terms when they are sentenced on Friday, 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 during their trial. But text messages between the pair proved they worked as a team to inflict the sickening abuse and even opted not to summon an ambulance as Daniel lay dying with more than 20 separate injuries.
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.