Coventry & Warwickshire

Daniel Pelka memorial items removed from Coventry cemetery

Some of the memorial items
Image caption Nicci Astin set up the memorial so Daniel Pelka would "not be forgotten"

Tributes left around a memorial to a starved and murdered boy in Coventry have been removed by council workers.

Nicci Astin, of Justice for Daniel Pelka, said people were "upset and angry" after many items were taken from St Paul's Cemetery, in Holbrooks.

Daniel's mother Magdalena Luczak and her partner Mariusz Krezolek were each jailed for at least 30 years for murdering Daniel. Luczak died in July.

The council said items "significantly encroached" on to a neighbouring plot.

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All removed items had been kept safely, the authority said.

Ms Astin set up the memorial so Daniel would "not be forgotten".

The stone was erected in November 2013 at the same time as one in Lodz, Poland, where Daniel, who died aged four, is buried.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Daniel Pelka died from a head injury in March 2012

Daniel had been starved and was regularly beaten before his death from a head injury in March 2012

Ms Astin said: "They've taken so much away, they've left a tiny little square.

"It's different from a grave; because it's a memorial there are a lot of people who visit and there are things on there that people have placed and they mean a lot to people.

"There are letters from children and it's just heartbreaking to think that someone's just taken them away."

Daniel's mother Magdalena Luczak, 29, died in her cell last July.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Mariusz Krezolek and Magdalena Luczak had denied murder and blamed each other for Daniel's death

A serious case review found Daniel was "invisible" at times to agencies, who had missed opportunities to help him.

Ms Astin said: "I've always said that he will never, ever be referred to as being invisible again."

Rachel Lancaster, cabinet member for public services, said the memorial was an important place for people to reflect on Daniel's short life.

"It is surrounded by the graves of other children and so it is important we maintain the whole area for everyone visiting their loved ones," she said.

"Over a period of time, unfortunately the things left for Daniel have significantly encroached on the neighbouring grave. This meant we had to re-mark out the space available for people to leave gifts at Daniel's memorial."

Ms Lancaster said the items would be returned to the Justice for Daniel group by councillors this week and the future management of the memorial discussed.

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