Timeline: Missed opportunities in Daniel Pelka case
- 17 September 2013
- From the section Coventry & Warwickshire
A serious case review into the death of Daniel Pelka has found 26 separate incidents required police involvement at the four-year-old's family home between March 2006 and December 2010.
Daniel, from Coventry, was starved and beaten for months before he died. Last month, his mother Magdelena Luczak, 27, and her partner Marius Krezolek, 34, were jailed for 30 years each after being found guilty of his murder.
Some of the missed opportunities listed in the serious case review are reproduced below:
22nd January 2009
A health visitor makes a referral to children's social care - known as Children, Learning and Young People Directorate (CLYP) - following the most recent domestic abuse incident, recorded in November 2008.
A social worker visits the home on 29 January to carry out an assessment and no further action is taken because it is considered Ms Luczak could protect the children.
5 July 2010
A health visitor goes to the family home to find Daniel has a bruise to the side of his head, with the explanation given that he "fell over". It is noted that Ms Luczak speaks little English.
Police are called to a domestic abuse incident involving knives after an altercation between Ms Luczak and Mr Krezolek. Ms Luczak has suffered a small cut from a knife and described losing consciousness from a strangulation attempt.
She said Mr Krezolek was drunk at the time and the children had witnessed everything. No reference is made by police about checking the welfare of the two Daniel and his sibling, aged 3 and 5 respectively. Mr Krezolek is arrested and released without charge.
Ms Luczak also claims he is using his computer to view indecent images of young teenage girls and alleges he had raped her "many times". Mr Krezolek is not arrested or questioned in respect of these allegations.
A neighbour calls the police to a domestic abuse incident, with both adults intoxicated and fighting in the presence of the children. The police record shows the children were "none the wiser" and did not witness the incident. No referral is made to CLYP.
6 January 2011
Daniel is taken to A&E by Ms Luczak and Mr Krezolek, where a fracture is found on his left arm along with multiple bruising to the arm, left shoulder and lower stomach. Daniel is noted to be interacting well with his mother and Mr Krezolek.
Concerns about the history of domestic abuse incidents at the family home prompt a meeting and it is decided an "in-depth assessment" will be undertaken. CLYP are agreeable to completing a Core Assessment and for the outcomes to be fed back to all professionals.
The school makes its concerns known to Ms Luczak about Daniel's continued obsession with food and that he takes food from other children's lunch boxes. He was said to be always focussed on eating whatever he could get, regularly taking four or five pieces of fruit from the "fruit corner" in the classroom. Ms Luczak seemed to say he must not eat more than what was in his lunchbox, which contained the bare minimum, school staff say.
The deputy head teacher becomes concerned Daniel is not growing and of his obsession with food and organises a meeting with Ms Luczak. She says Daniel was taking food at home and getting up in the night to raid the fridge, but got diarrhoea as a result.
Evidence given in the trial by school staff about Daniel, describes how he "looked for food everywhere" and that he "would eat whatever he could get his hands on". He finds and eats half a large cake meant to be given to all the children, as it was the teacher's birthday.
Daniel persuades other children to give him food, which he eats in the toilets and takes food from bins. He also tries to eat beans being planted in soil and raw jelly taken from a sandpit.
Between December 2011 and February 2012
Daniel was seen on occasion at school with facial injuries. Because of a lack of appropriate recording within the school, it is unclear what injuries were seen and when but they include:
- "Approximately four spot bruises down the neck from the ear to the shoulder" seen by the class teacher and recorded in the concerns book (for the reception class).
- "Fresh blue/black bruises on the eyes and a scratch across the nose" seen by the class teacher who told the head teacher.
- "A bruise to the centre of the forehead" seen by a teaching assistant.
- "A large bump on the left hand side of his forehead about the size of a two pence piece" seen by another teaching assistant.
- "A graze to the top/front of his forehead" seen by the head teacher. When asked, Daniel's sibling said Daniel had been pushed over by another child outside of school.
Whilst there were references to "black eyes" being seen on Daniel, other members of the teaching staff reported having no recollection of seeing such injuries. None of these injuries are referred to CLYP or the police.
The family's computer at home is used to seek information on salt poisoning and of a child not responding.
Text messages are sent from Ms Luczak to Mr Krezolek are later sent saying "he'll get over it" and that there was no point in calling an ambulance because it would "cause proper problems".
At just after 03:00 BST a telephone call is made to the ambulance service and Daniel is admitted to hospital at 03:28 having suffered a cardiac arrest, from which he could not be resuscitated. He is pronounced dead at 03:50.