Tenth anniversary of Coventry schoolboy Daniel Pelka's 'horrific' murder

Today marks 10 years since Daniel Pelka was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend in Coventry.  Credit: BPM Media

Today marks 10 years since schoolboy Daniel Pelka was murdered by his mother and her boyfriend in Coventry

The four-year-old had been tortured, beaten and starved for six months before dying of a head injury at his home on March 3, 2012.

His mother Magdalena Luczak, then 27, and her boyfriend Mariusz Krezolek, then 34, were convicted of his murder and jailed for a minimum of 30 years at Birmingham Crown Court in August 2013.

During the trial it had been found that the child, who lived most of his life in Coventry and went to school in Foleshill, was bullied, beaten and starved by Luczak and Krezolek before his death.

Every year on the anniversary of his death, a group of people - some of whom never even knew Daniel - visit his memorial in St Paul's Cemetery, Holbrooks, to pay their respects.They are part of the Justice for Daniel Pelka Facebook Group which was set up by Nicci Astin, who will not be able to make it this year.

Credit: BPM Media

Ms Astin said: "Due to Covid we hadn't arranged to travel (to Coventry), but we will be there on his birthday in July.

"There are still going to be people at his memorial on Thursday and his dad will be at his grave in Lodz, with flowers at both."

Ms Astin also described her disbelief that in the decade since Daniel died, there have still been more tragic cases with strong similarities, such as that of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

Arthur died after months of abuse at his family home in Solihull at the hands of his father Thomas Hughes and his father's partner Emma Tustin - just two months after social workers visited and found "no safeguarding concerns".

Nicci said: "It was so similar - what happened to Arthur to Daniel's story. Feeding him salt...it was just horrific.

"I can't believe that it is still happening. It's about people not doing what they should do or communicating together."

During Daniel's final months, he was denied food, forced to perform punishment exercises, confined in a locked box room with just a urine-soaked mattress to sleep on, poisoned with salt and subjected to water torture.

Staff at his school saw him scavenging for food and on one occasion he was caught stealing a teacher’s birthday cake.

During the 30-hour period in which Daniel lay dying after suffering a head injury, Luczak and Krezolek chose not to call an ambulance, instead opting to carry on with their normal lives.

After his death, it was found Daniel weighed less than two stone.

A serious case review later found that social workers, police officers and healthcare professionals had all missed chances to save him.

The judge described Luczak and Krezolek as "heartless monsters".

Both have since died in prison.