Coventry & Warwickshire

Daniel Pelka murder trial: Teacher 'told not to feed boy'

Daniel Pelka
Image caption Daniel Pelka died shortly after getting to hospital on 3 March 2012

A mother accused of starving and killing her son has said she ordered his teacher not to give him extra food.

Magdelena Luczak also told a jury how she bribed four-year-old Daniel Pelka not to tell school staff about his ordeal by giving him a chocolate bar.

Daniel died in hospital in Coventry on 3 March 2012 from severe head injuries.

Ms Luczak and her partner Mariusz Krezolek both deny murder and causing or allowing the death of a child. The pair have admitted a charge of cruelty.

Emaciated body

It is alleged the couple, who came to Britain from Poland in 2006, worked as a team to "systematically" starve the four-year old prior to his death.

During a third day in the witness box at Birmingham Crown Court, Ms Luczak denied her son had lost a great deal of weight during holidays from Little Heath Primary School.

When shown a hospital scan of Daniel's emaciated body, Ms Luczak again claimed that Mr Krezolek would not allow her to feed her son when he returned home from school.

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC then asked her: "Can you explain why the school staff noticed after the Christmas holiday that Daniel had lost a great deal of weight?"

She replied: "Because he lost it. In the morning he was under my care, and in the afternoon he was under Mariusz's care.

"I gave him breakfast."

Protecting son

Continuing his cross-examination, Mr Hankin put it to Ms Luczak that she had "insisted that Daniel should not be given more food at school".

Ms Luczak, whose comments were translated by a Polish interpreter, answered: "I said so to the teacher because I knew Mariusz would check."

She maintained that she had been trying to protect her son from her violent partner.

Daniel's mother was also asked about text messages she sent to Mr Krezolek, including one in which she referred to bribing her son not to tell his teachers he had been beaten.

Mr Hankin asked her: "How could you bribe your child with the most precious thing of all, the food that he was not being given?"

Image caption Magdelena Luczak gave evidence for a third day at Birmingham Crown Court

The mother of the four-year-old replied: "I don't know, but I did bribe him."

Giving her final evidence in court, Ms Luczak told her barrister, Stephen Linehan QC, that her son was fed properly until he started stealing sandwiches from his school.

She said: "Mariusz gave him dinner later and smaller portions to discipline him, so he wouldn't steal the sandwiches.

"And after the new year it changed and Mariusz stopped giving him food in the afternoon. So Daniel ate only in the morning and ate only at school."

Ms Luczak denied she had assaulted her son or encouraged her partner to do so.

"My behaviour was very bad towards Daniel. I should have defended him and I really knew what was happening at home," she added.

The trial was adjourned until Friday, when Mr Hankin is expected to make his closing speech to the jury.

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