Daniel Pelka murder: Parents kept the four-year-old "prisoner"

Four-year-old Daniel Pelka died in an unheated box room in which he was regularly "imprisoned" for at least the last five months of his life.

His mother Magdelena Luczak and stepfather Mariusz Krezolek, who have been found guilty of murder, used vanilla-scented air fresheners to mask the smell of the run-down and foul-smelling room, which had a thin and stained mattress as its only furnishing.

When police first entered the property following Daniel's death, the mattress had been hidden and clean clothes, a child's bike and other items had been used to mock up an air of normality.

Later inquiries found the door handles and spindle had been removed, preventing anyone inside the room from getting out and effectively keeping them prisoner.

The metal plate covering the lock had also been turned upside down by Krezolek, depriving Daniel of even the cold comfort of looking out of the room through the hole usually occupied by the spindle.

Describing the moment when he and fellow officers realised the room had been used to confine Daniel,
Detective Inspector Chris Hanson told Birmingham Crown Court: "I guess as the penny dropped or the realisation hit us, we were certain that that's where Daniel was sleeping.

"The room smelt strongly of urine, the carpet was wet, some of the walls appeared wet and damp, there was mould on the walls and you could clearly see palm and fingerprints belonging to a child on that door.

[Daniel Pelka: Pair Found Guilty Of Murder]

"Because of their height and because they are tiny, they are consistent, in my opinion, with a child of around three or four years old.

"I could see that the door had been adapted to essentially become a prison cell door so that once the door was closed, anybody left in that room had no chance of getting out."

Other instances of cruelty saw Daniel fed salt when he complained of thirst, submerged in a cold bath and forced to defecate in his own bed.

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