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Daniel Pelka's mother dies in prison

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Magdalena Luczak, 29, was found unresponsive in cell, while serving 30 years for murder of her four-year-old son with partner, after ‘unimaginable acts of cruelty’

Magdelena Luczak was sentenced to 30 years for the murder of her boy.
Magdelena Luczak was sentenced to 30 years for the murder of her boy. Photograph: West Midlands police/PA
Magdelena Luczak was sentenced to 30 years for the murder of her boy. Photograph: West Midlands police/PA

Last modified on Wed 29 Nov 2017 09.37 EST

The mother of four-year-old Daniel Pelka has died in prison less than two years into her 30-year sentence for his murder.

Magdelena Luczak was jailed along with Daniel’s stepfather, Mariusz Krezolek, in August 2013 for the “incomprehensible cruelty” leading to the toddler’s death.

Luczak, 29, was found unresponsive in her cell at HMP Foston Hall in Derby at about 7.15am on Tuesday.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Paramedics attended and she was pronounced dead at the scene. As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent prisons and probation ombudsman.”

It is understood that Derbyshire police are not investigating Luczak’s death at this stage.

Daniel died of a head injury at his home in Coventry in April 2012 after a campaign of abuse at the hands of his mother and stepfather.

Luczak and Krezolek, both originally from Poland, went on trial for his murder the following year, making headlines as one of the most harrowing instances of child abuse in the UK.

The trial heard how Daniel was forced to kneel for long periods of time, run continuously around the living room, perform squats and swallow salt, poured neat into his mouth, causing him to vomit. He weighed just over a stone and a half when he died.

In her sentencing remarks, the judge, Mrs Justice Cox, said: “Harrowing details of the unimaginable acts of cruelty and brutality inflicted on little Daniel, over many months, have exposed both the torment and despair he must have suffered and your callous disregard for his pain and distress.

“Both of you concealed your conduct from the authorities by a series of deliberate and elaborate lies, designed to put them off the scent. Your campaign of cruelty, as it has accurately been described, culminated in the severe blow or blows to his head that killed him.”

The judge said that before their arrests the pair tried to hide evidence by deleting their computer search history and concealing a urine-stained mattress on which Daniel was made to sleep.

In December last year, Luczak and Krezolek failed in appeals against their jail sentences. Lawyers for the pair argued that the minimum 30-year terms were excessive but three judges disagreed.

HMP Foston Hall, where Luczak was being held, was recently given a mixed review by the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, who found that it was not effective as many other women’s prisons but was making progress.

In an unannounced visit in October last year, inspectors found that too many prisoners were locked up in the day with little activity available, and that “more women than usual said they felt victimised by both staff and other prisoners”.