Sebastian Kalinowski: Mum accused of murder thought son's beatings were 'normal'

Sebastian Kalinowski/Agnieska Kalinowska
Agnieska Kalinowska denies murdering Sebastian Kalinowski.

Warning: This report contains descriptions of child abuse.

A mother who was caught on camera kicking and stamping on her son in the weeks before he died has told a court she thought the beatings were a "usual punishment".

Agnieska Kalinowska, 35, and her partner, Andrzej Latoszewski, 36, are on trial accused of murdering 15-year-old Sebastian Kalinowski at their home in Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

He died from complications caused by multiple untreated rib fractures on 13 August last year.

The jury at Leeds Crown Court has been shown footage from CCTV cameras, which the prosecution say were installed in the couple's house to monitor Sebastian.

The videos show Sebastian being repeatedly punched, kicked and stamped on. He was attacked with weapons including a bed slat and and a balustrade and whipped with a cable.

The prosecution say he was used as a "human punchbag" and his treatment amounted to "torture".

Latoszewski has admitted manslaughter. Kalinowska has pleaded guilty to child cruelty. Both deny murder.

'I was a puppet'

Taking the stand for a third day on Friday, 8 July, Kalinowska was shown footage showing her holding Sebastian down as he was assaulted by her partner.

Under cross examination by prosecutor Julian Pitter QC she said she did so because she was "in fear" of Latoszewski, who she has previously said was controlling her.

Speaking through a Polish interpreter, she said: "I could say that I was kind of his puppet, what he told me I was doing it out of fear of him. I did what I was told to do."

She was then asked what she was thinking when she hit her son.

Kalinowska said: "That I would just hit him like a mother would a son."

She added: "I thought it was a usual punishment from a parent, that if a mum hits her son on the head, it's a normal thing."

Andrzej Latoszewski and Agnieska Kalinowska are both accused of murder.

Mr Pitter asked: "What about kicking your son?"

She said: "Yes, I also thought it was normal so far that it doesn't put his life in danger."

"And stamping on your son?" Mr Pitter asked.

Kalinowska said: "It did not put his life in danger, also sort of emotions went through me and I was also kind of directed by Andrzej."

She added: "Now I think that it was bad on my part, this is why I admitted to cruelty because it was cruel."

Pushed on whether she thought it was "normal" to kick and stamp on Sebastian she said: "Yes, I felt it was normal."

The court has heard that Sebastian was a "model student" at North Huddersfield Trust School. But he was beaten as punishment for supposed transgressions including failing to do his homework and playing truant from school.

North Huddersfield Trust School. Credit: Google

He was also made to perform gruelling exercise "drills", including hundreds of press-ups and squats.

Asked about the drills, Kalinowska said: "Now, I see it as a very bad thing, because now when I know he was really ill then I'm just very sorry."

Mr Pitter said: "Try and tell us how you felt at the time."

She replied: "At that time I thought it was normal I would say 'do this as your punishment' and it was normal."

Kalinowska has told the jury that she was "afraid" of Latoszewski, 36, and took her lead from him. She said she had been the victim of his assaults for a number of years.

But the court has heard how the couple exchanged letters while in separate prisons and Kalinowska accepted a marriage proposal from Latoszewski as they awaited the trial.

The trial continues.

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