A serious case review into the death of Daniel Pelka is investigating whether authorities missed opportunities to protect the child, who died after a campaign of abuse by his mother and her partner.
Magdelena Luczak, Daniel’s mother, and her partner, Mariusz Krezolek, were both found guilty of the child’s murder at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.
During the trial, the court heard the four-year-old had been starved for up to nine months before being beaten to death. The child had been so hungry that teachers reported seeing him steal food from other children and eat food from bins or covered in dirt.
It also emerged that Daniel had been assessed by doctors for a broken arm as early as January 2011, leading to questions about why the abuse was missed. Health visitors and an education welfare office also made visits to Daniel’s home, but were given false explanations for the child’s dramatic weight loss, including that he suffered from a genetic eating disorder.
Reportedly, social services closed the file they had on Daniel after police child protection officers decided there was no evidence of wrong-doing by his mother and her partner.
Coventry’s Safeguarding Children Board is looking at the involvement of agencies in Daniel’s care, including social services, health and education, to establish whether mistakes were made and lessons can be learnt. It will report its findings in six weeks.
In a statement, the board said the review has considered whether more could, or should, have been done to protect Daniel.
“However, new information has emerged during the trial. Therefore the Safeguarding Children Board will consider the work completed so far on the review in the light of all the evidence presented in court,” the statement read.
Sue Kent, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, said: “Daniel Pelka suffered almost unimaginable abuse during his short life and it has been distressing to hear the details during the court case.
“We know that not all children grow up in safe and happy environments. This tragic case underlines the need for all agencies to communicate with each other and work closely together to protect children.
“It also highlights the need for school staff to be properly trained in child protection issues. We await the outcome of the serious case review to find out what lessons can be learned.”