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Daniel Pelka
July 15, 2007 - March 3, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial

The first headline I read in this case said that Daniel Pelka had been invisible to "professionals". More often than not, in cases where children are "in the system", they DO seem to be becoming invisible or ignored or whatever term anyone wants to use. The people in charge of making sure they are living safe, happy and healthy lives, fail them more and more. When a child "in the system" dies, talk of changes is rampant, it was no different in the case of Daniel Pelka. There was a case review and finding that chance after chance to save him was missed, the review concluded that "critical lessons" must be "translated into action". Unfortunately for far too many children, that action never happens.

Living in Poland were Eryk and Magdelena Luczak Pelka. Pelka became pregnant in 2006 and ended up leaving Eryk and moving to England with her new boyfriend, Mariusz Krezolek. Magdelena gave birth to a baby boy on July 15, 2007, naming him Daniel Pelka. By all accounts, Daniel never had a good life and in the months leading up to his death, even though he was sent to school with black eyes and at one point a broken arm as well as other bruises on a daily basis, nobody ever took a second look, believing that they were accidents. The truth behind Daniel's "accidents" was much more horrible.

In March of 2008, Daniel was only eight months when he was taken to the hospital and treated for a head injury. In January of 2011, he was three and half years old and was taken to the hospital with a broken arm. The hospital staff voiced their concerns about these injuries and held a meeting to figure out if Daniel had actually fallen or if he was being abused. In the end, Magdelena won out and they decided Daniel had indeed fallen from a settee. Unexplained by them, were other bruises that Daniel had and no one bothered to ask about them.

Daniel's mother had many different boyfriends over time and she would often get drunk and get into fights with them, some so serious that they would involve knives, still no one saw that maybe Daniel was also at risk. Magdelena and Mariusz were abusing, beating and starving Daniel on a daily basis. Complaints were made and home visits were done, however, Mariusz was always able to convince people, including the child protection agencies, that Daniel just had a lot of accidents. 

Daniel continued to show up to school with various bruises and it became apparent at one point that he was found to be rummaging for food, because he was so hungry. Oddly, no one seemed to notice that he was losing weight at an alarming rate. For months, Daniel endured the pain and suffering inflicted on him by his mother and stepfather, until finally, in March of 2012, his fragile body just gave out and he had the most peace he had ever had, in the form of his death.

Of course after his death, people stood up and took notice. A teaching assistant talked of how he looked like a bag of bones, a little old man and he seemed to be sad and lonely. When he died, Daniel weighed what was said to be "just over a stone and a half"  or 10kg, which is about 22 pounds, very thin for a five year old.

    

A report by Don Lock was not naming any one agency as being a factor in the death of Daniel but he had no trouble making excuses for what had happened:

"Workload was a potential issue. Child protection is a very complex matter and perhaps when
they felt reassured, they moved on to the next case. But they need to be stronger and have a much
more inquiring mind. They needed to act on what was in front of them"

A review was done in which they found the following:

Police were called to 26 separate incidents at the family home, many involving domestic violence and alcohol abuse


Excuses made by Daniel's "controlling" mother were accepted by agencies

Professionals needed to "think the unthinkable" and act upon what they saw, rather than accept "parental versions"

Daniel's "voice was not heard" because English was not his first language and he lacked confidence

No record of "any conversation" held with Daniel about his home life, his experiences outside school, or of his relationships with his siblings, mother and her partners

None of the agencies involved could have predicted Daniel's death

There were "committed attempts" by his school and health workers to address his "health and behavioral issues" in the months before his death

But "too many opportunities were missed for more urgent and purposeful interventions"

Two of those chances were when Daniel was taken to an accident and emergency department with injuries

Not one person in a professional position was held responsible in any way for the death of Daniel Pelka. Excuses were made, promises of change were made, but no one was help accountable for his death other than his mother and stepfather. Amy Weir, the board's chair, said that the report and review of the death of Daniel was "disheartening, disappointing and generally worrying":

"I think for Daniel, there's something which we've never fully been able to get to grips with. The issue
about Daniel mainly being Polish speaking should have been overcome and there were significant
issues about his mother and her ability to try to hoodwink professionals"

It seems to me, the creator of this site, that if someone, ANYONE had taken a few minutes to try to speak to Daniel, his life could have been saved. I am unable to find ANY reports of even ONE person, not a teacher, police man, doctor or child protection worker EVER speaking to Daniel to find out his side of what was going on. Daniel truly was invisible and unable to be heard, by any of them.


Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth with the Police said that this report raised a lack of consistency when officers are dealing with domestic disputes:

"We accept that Daniel was not given a voice"

Daniel's head teacher said that Magdelena was a master manipulator:

"If we were aware of the bigger picture of his life or had doubts about her, we would of course have
acted differently. We want to see changes where school are aware of concerns from other agencies
which affect our pupils"
Gill Mulhall

So the fact that this child was always bruised up, was losing weight, was shy and quiet and seemed to be sad and lonely, wasn't enough for this teacher to talk to him and find out what was going on? Shame on that entire school system who helped everyone to fail this child!

Sharon Binyon, who was the Medical Director of the Coventry And Warwichshire Partnershoip NHS trust, said she felt that the service did not do enough:

"Coventry has one of the lowest numbers of health visitors per child in the country. That was recognized
and we're working with NHS England. Since the time of Daniel's death, the number of health visitors has
now double and we expect to see it trebled by 2015"

Another official, Peter Wanless of the NSPCC's, said that while Daniel's mother and stepfather were the ones who had killed him, there needed to be a review to look at how things could have been done differently to save Daniel's life:

"Processes were followed correctly much of the time, but processes alone do not save children"

Martin Reeves, the council's Chief Executive was called to task for what was called a "great disgrace" for their city, he responded by saying that their city had never had such a tragic case and that staff members needed to learn quickly after the review:

"The best legacy for Daniel is to make sure we move forward and I want to have a part to play in that future.
This can't be about a witch hunt of vilification of professionals"

In other words, Martin Reeves doesn't want anyone who was SUPPOSED to keep Daniel alive, held responsible for what they failed to do. Again, the Coventry Safeguarding Children Board published 15 recommendations that were supposed to help ensure that nothing like happened again. Funny thing about "recommendations", they get made and fade into the background every time something "like this" happens.

Magdelena, who was 27 years old at the time and Mariusz Krezolk, who was 34 years old at the time, were found guilty of murder at the Birmingham Crown court, each of them was sentenced to at least 30 years to life in jail, whatever that means. Life should mean life, never getting out!

Below is a picture of Daniel's biological father, Eryk Pelka who was devastated by the death of his son and was in court to testify against  Magdelena and, Mariusz Krezlolk. I see by his picture below that Daniel looks JUST like his father.



Two countries united in their grief for murdered Coventry schoolboy Daniel Pelka have been able to pay their respects thanks to a Facebook page launched by a Nelson woman.

Campaigner Nicci Astin (37), of Hawarden Street, set up the “Justice For Daniel Pelka” site, after it was revealed that child protection workers failed to intervene in the four year olds case.

Daniel died in March, 2012, after being brutally starved and beaten by his mother and her partner.

Since seeking justice for the youngster, Nicci has received overwhelming support, with the page gaining over 8,000 likes, and Facebook users writing on it on a daily basis.

Through money raised on the site, a headstone worth over 1,600 has been able to be put in Lodz, Poland, where Daniel is buried.

And on the same day a memorial, inscribed with the same words, was installed at St Paul’s Cemetery, in Coventry – after two generous companies offered their services free of charge.

The memorial was created by Odlings and was installed by JE Hackett and Sons funeral directors.

Mrs Astin, who has been campaigning against child abuse for the past five years, said: “I’m so proud that this has happened.

“It is fitting that they happened at the same time, as it gives people in both Poland and Coventry somewhere to grieve and pay their respects, and it will also make sure Daniel is not invisible and is never forgotten.”

Many people also posted their thoughts on the new tributes to Daniel on Facebook, with one writing: “Beautiful angel child .. Now stay forever young in God’s loving arms ... Wish I could have kept you safe Daniel. This is a touching memorial for him xxx”.

Another said: “So, so beautiful, just like Daniel. God bless you little man xxx”.

Mrs Astin is also backing a petition calling for new legislation requiring the mandatory reporting of child abuse.



To sign the petition visit www.change.org/danielslaw and for more information go to www.facebook.com/Justice ForDanielPelka (Note: the link in this story is no longer valid)

In September of 2013, it was decided that a petition signed by more 50,000 people had been a waste of time. The petition, which had called for a new law that would force professionals to report suspected child abuse, was was rejected by ministers and safeguarding experts. Though of the same kind already exist in other countries, it was thought that it was already a legal duty for professionals such as teachers, social workers, police and doctors, to report suspected child abuse:

"Other countries have tried mandatory reporting and there is no evidence to show that it is a better
system for protecting children. In face there is evidence to show it can make children less safe"
Edward Timpson - Children And Families Minister

I agree with this man to some degree, we can pass laws and give them the names of the children who died, but that doesn't mean people are going to follow the law. We need LESS lawmaking and MORE law following, which to me means that we need to protect our children by arresting ANYONE who is involved in their abuse and all too often, their deaths.

Home Secretary, Theresa May, said that the emphasis should be on children who are stuck living in a home where there is domestic violence:

"I think one of the issues that the Daniel Pelka case raises is that when people are looking into issues of
domestic violence, making sure we look at how those incidents affect children"

The online petition was set up by Paul Barrow, who is a mother of two and thought that a new law making it mandatory for professionals to report child abuse, would be a good idea:

"It is impossible for credible child protection to be delivered without the support and protection of the law,
in order that staff in regulated activities are required to act in the interests of the children in distress without
hesitation or deliberation, without fear of incrimination or reprisal"

Children's charities were upset that there had to be another case review, after the reviews when Peter Connelly and Victoria Climbie had died with the same mistakes having been made even after the promised changes. There was popular speculation that lessons were NOT being learned and the British Association Of Social Workers said that the review process was ineffective because child protection workers were not even being given a chance to read the findings of the reviews.

The World Health Organization spokesperson said:

"It is time to recognize child maltreatment as a public health concern and not solely a criminal justice and
social issue. Child abuse is preventable through a mainstreamed public health approach, an opportunity
that we cannot afford to miss"
Zsuzsanna Jakab

Thank you goes to Marie for sending me this child's name.

UPDATE: June 17, 2016 - Thank you Clare for this update.

In July of 2015, it was reported that  Magdalena Luczak, who was 29 years old at the time, died in prison after spending only two years of her 30 years sentence there. Detective Inspector Steve Shaw had this to say:

"We received a call from the ambulance service that a prisoner was
deceased at HM Foston Hall. It appears that Magdalena was found
deceased in her call by a prison officer around 7:15 in the morning.
She had last been seen at 1am that morning asleep in her cell. She
was in a locked cell throughout the night and it was a single
occupancy cell"

Coroner Robert Hunger said that a post mortem examination showed that Magdalena's cause of death was hanging, though toxicology tests still needed to be done. Magdalena appeared to have taken her own life just one day before Daniel would have turned eight years old.

In January of 2016, Mariusz Krezolek, who was 36 years old at the time, was found hanging in his cell only six months after Magdalena had died the same way. A spokesperson for the prison said:

"HMP Full Sutton prisoner Mariusz Krezolek was found unresponsive in
his cell at 8:30am on Wednesday, 28 January. Staff immediately attempted
resuscitation but he was pronounced dead shortly after"

There are online news articles that give details about how these two were found, however, I do not feel the need to reprint them here. I can only hope that they both took responsibility for what they did before they died and some how made their peace with God.

This page was created on May 22, 2104
Death occurred in England

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