London: A Polish mother and her boyfriend who systematically starved her four-year-old son before savagely beating him to death were jailed for a minimum of 30 years by a judge today in a case that has horrified Britain.
Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek subjected Daniel Pelka to a six-month ordeal in which he was held underwater, locked in a room and force-fed salt before suffering fatal head injuries in a vicious assault.
The case has raised questions about why Daniel`s stepfather Krezolek was not deported to Poland despite having been jailed three times in Britain, and about the failure to act by Daniel`s school and social services in Coventry, central England.
The case was "deeply shocking and disturbing" and involved "unimaginable acts of cruelty and brutality," said judge Laura Cox as she sentenced the pair at Birmingham Crown Court.
Cox gave both Luczak and Krezolek life sentences and said the couple, who were found guilty by a jury on Wednesday, must serve a minimum of 30 years in prison before they can be considered for release.
The pair, both alcohol and drug abusers, arrived in Britain from Poland in 2006. They blamed each other for Daniel`s death.
A juror wiped away tears as the sentences were read out. Luczak and Krezolek, who are both originally from Poland, stared straight ahead and listened to their interpreters.
"Over the nine weeks of acutely distressing evidence I have not observed a single sign of genuine remorse at any stage from either of you," the judge said.
Daniel was described as a healthy little boy when he started school in the industrial city of Coventry in September 2011. Pictures showed a smiling blond-haired boy in a red uniform.
But the time he died in March 2012 experts "likened his appearance to those who failed to survive concentration camps, and the comparison was not made lightly," the judge said.
His mother, 27, and her partner, 34, subjected him to multiple beatings and repeated punishments.
They repeatedly poured neat salt from a container into his mouth, causing him to vomit.
Daniel was also subjected to a "cold water punishment" in which he was held under water to the point of unconsciousness, the judge said, adding that the boy`s six-year-old sister had witnessed it.
The couple regularly locked the little boy inside a bare box room with no toys, removing the inner door handle so he could not escape and making him to go the toilet on his bed.
"The small hand and finger marks on the inside of that door provided a poignant image of his desperate attempts to escape," the judge said.
But the judge said the "particularly grave aggravating feature" of the case was the "chronic and systematic starvation" that they subjected him to.