Monday, 15 July 2013

FILICIDE: UK: More on Magdalena Luczak, now at trial

Mother accused of beating and starving son to death admits locking him in home-made prison cell for 33 HOURS before he died
Magdalena Luczak accused of murdering son Daniel Pelka, 4
She claims stepfather Mariusz Krezolek, also accused, beat the youngster
Luczak claims she fed the boy, who was emaciated when he died


PUBLISHED: 15:03 GMT, 15 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:48 GMT, 15 July 2013
The mother of a four-year-old boy who was starved and beaten has admitted locking her dying son in a filthy home-made prison cell for 33 hours before he died.
Daniel Pelka died from a massive blow to the head on March 3 last year and was so emaciated in the weeks before his death teachers said he resembled a cancer victim.
His mother Magdalena Luczak, 27, and her partner Mariusz Krezolek, 34, both admit one count of child cruelty.

Magdalena Luczak told the jury that Mariusz Krezolek, the stepfather of Daniel Pelka, 'hated' the four-year-old and had given him physical punishments, including squats, almost every day
They deny murder and another charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Today Luczak told a jury that she and Krezolek imprisoned Daniel in a home-made cell with a stained mattress on the floor in their home in Coventry on March 1.
Giving evidence at Birmingham Crown Court Luczak, originally from the Polish city of Lodz, said: 'Mariusz checked Daniel's stomach and then he took him upstairs and shut him in the box room at around 4pm.
'He had taken the lock off the door so he couldn't get out. We went away to Morrisons for 30-45 minutes.
'Then Mariusz went upstairs he took Daniel from the little room he took him to our bedroom.
'Mariusz sat at the computer and Daniel was doing squats. I was downstairs in the living room and I heard some screams. Mariusz was shouting at Daniel.
'I went upstairs, Daniel was crying Mariusz was shouting at him because Daniel wet himself.
'I told him 'he is in fear of you'. Mariusz hit him in the back of his head and Daniel fell to the front of him.
'He told me it is my 'f*****g son' and I should take back to his father in Poland. I started shouting at him then Mariusz started strangling me. He grabbed me by the neck, pushed me against the wall and strangled me.

Toddler Daniel Pelka, 4, who died of head injuries after being found unconscious at his home in Holbrooks, Coventry
'He grabbed Daniel by his shirt and took him to the bathroom and I went to get some clothes for Daniel.
'Mariusz cleaned Daniel in a very unpleasant way and then took him into the box room.
'He grabbed him by the t-shirt and dragged him to the box room, there he hit him again, and he knocked him down to the mattress, he hit him on the right side of the head.
'I shouted at him not to hit him on his head. Because I shouted he grabbed me by the neck to calm me down, I don't remember what happened later.
'Next thing I remember is waking up on the sofa, Mariusz was sat on the other sofa smoking a cigarette.
'Daniel was in the box room, the door was ajar to the room it looked like he was asleep.
'At nine o'clock the next morning I realised he was unconscious. Mariusz tried to wake Daniel, but he didn't wake up.
'We didn't call an ambulance, I was afraid, they would take away my child and I would be in prison.'
She called an ambulance at 2.45am on March 3 when she noticed a green substance leaking from Daniel's mouth but despite paramedics attempts he was pronounced dead later the same day in hospital.

Defendants: Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek, who are appearing at Birmingham Crown Court accused of killing Luczak's son Daniel Pelka
She added: 'I got up at around 2.45am and went to check on Daniel, his face looked totally different and there was a green liquid coming from his mouth.
'I came and checked him and he was not breathing. I started screaming, Mariusz went into the box room and took Daniel out to the bedroom.
'I have never hit a child in that way, I may have smacked him on the bottom when he was being naughty, I never encouraged Mariusz to hit him.'
When asked by Mr Linehan if she had told the truth when they arrived at hospital on the morning of March 3 she replied: 'No, because I was protecting myself and protecting him.'
When asked by Stephen Linehan QC, defending, if she had failed to protect her son, she said 'yes'.
She maintained it was not her fault that he was starved and battered to death but instead blamed former boyfriend Krezolek for hitting him twice on the head.
The pair, both originally from Poland, deny charges of murder and causing or allowing Daniel’s death.
The child was allegedly locked in a ‘cell’, starved and force-fed salt as a punishment for taking food from the fridge.
Daniel was so hungry he ate out of bins and stole his primary school classmates’ packed lunches.
Despite two home visits from school staff and an appointment with a paediatrician, he was found dead on March 3 last year weighing 15lb below the average for a child of his age.
His emaciated appearance shocked doctors at the hospital where he was rushed, lifeless, by paramedics. One expert in child deaths said his body could be compared to a child starving in a concentration camp in the Second World War.
Taking the stand yesterday at Birmingham Crown Court, Luczak said she was controlled by her partner, who told her Daniel was eating enough.
‘Mariusz would check his belly and he would say that there's a slight bump on his belly,’ she told jurors.
‘He would ask Daniel if he was taking any sandwiches [from his school]. Daniel was so scared that he would always confess and say yes he had.
‘Mariusz didn't allow me to give him food and he said he was well-fed at school.’
Speaking with the help of a translator, Luczak said she often saw her child eat.
‘In the morning before he left for school, I was giving him breakfast and I was packing his packed lunch.
‘On the way to school I would buy him something sweet and after school Daniel wouldn't eat anymore,’ she said.
Answering questions from defence QC Stephen Linehan, Luczak conceded that she had not cared for Daniel, as was her duty, between September 2011 and February 10 2012, three weeks before he died of a head injury.
But she blamed the catalogue of abuse he suffered on the boy’s stepfather, saying he gave Daniel arduous physical punishments almost every day.
‘He had no feelings towards Daniel, he hated him,’ she added. ‘He was shouting at him, he was smacking him on the bottom and he was giving him punishments.’
Krezolek, meanwhile, blames Luczak, saying she would often shout at Daniel just for putting his clothes on inside out or his shoes on the wrong feet.
He told the court Luczak had an alcohol problem and often smoked marijuana, which led to her losing her temper.
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC earlier told the court: 'Daniel was subjected to a campaign of incomprehensible and escalating cruelty. His body was described as "shockingly thin" by doctors.
‘When doctors tried to measure his BMI (body mass index) it was too low to be measured on the scale.'

Luczak claim Daniel was starved because Mariusz Krezolek was preventing her from properly caring for him
The jury heard how Daniel - who spoke no English and only a few words of Polish - was kept in box room with no door handle on the inside, which was like a home-made prison cell.
His sibling told the court he was prevented from using the toilet and they used to steal pistachios and biscuits to sneak to him when he was not allowed to eat.
Prosecutors allege he died after a ‘violent assault’. In a text message sent the day before Daniel's death, Krezolek wrote: 'He'll get over it by tomorrow. There's no point to call the ambulance as that will cause proper problems.'
His mother admitted yesterday they left him unconscious for more than 24 hours before calling for help because she feared being sent to prison.
After the couple eventually called 999, he was taken to University Hospital in Coventry, where he was pronounced dead.
He had suffered 24 injuries to his head, body and all four limbs and tests showed higher than normal sodium levels in his system.
Luczak and Krezolek deny murder and causing or allowing the death of a child at their home.

The case continues.

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