In Brief

Mother of murdered child Daniel Pelka dies in prison

Magdalena Luczak, convicted of 'incomprehensible cruelty' that led to the death of her son, found dead in her cell

Magdalena Luczak, who was convicted of torturing and starving her son Daniel Pelka to death, has been found dead in jail a day before what would have been her son's eighth birthday.

Luczak and her partner Mariusz Krezolek were found guilty of murdering their young son in 2013 and were each sentenced to a maximum term of 30 years in prison. Luczak was found unresponsive in her cell at HMP Foston Hall Prison, Derbyshire, at 7.15am, Sky News reports.

Luczak had served two years of her sentence for "incomprehensible cruelty" that included denying her son Daniel food, locking him in a box, forcing him to perform punishing exercises and subjecting him to water torture. Daniel was found dead at his family home in Coventry in March 2012. He had died from a head injury.

Following the discovery of Luczak's body, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Paramedics attended and she was pronounced dead at the scene." He confirmed that the death would be subject to an independent investigation, which is the standard procedure for all deaths in custody.

Luczak and Krezolek were both found guilty in 2013 of the "prolonged, pre-planned and pre-meditated murder" of Daniel.

"They turned Daniel who was a beautiful little boy into a bag of bones basically," said Detective Inspector Chris Hanson from West Midlands Police after they were convicted.

The 2012 murder triggered a review which concluded that several chances to save Daniel had been missed by authorities. The report found that "no professional tried sufficiently hard enough" to talk to the child about what was happening, the BBC reports.

Daniel's GP, Dr Mohammad Pathan, was found guilty of misconduct by a disciplinary panel who said that he could have been "more proactive" when concerns were raised, the Coventry Telegraph reports. Dr Pathan had not offered a "safety net" after teachers raised concerns about Daniel's health. Despite his sanction Pathan remains fit to practise.

Speaking to BBC News at the time, Khalid Mahmood, a Labour MP, questioned whether serious case reviews achieve anything. He said: "There's no accountability or responsibility. The way it is done is to protect professionals. It's a defence mechanism. You keep hearing 'we've learned lessons', but the same things keep coming up."

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