Daniel Pelka was four years of age when he died from a head injury on the 3 March 2012. Daniel often suffered abuse from his mother, Magdalena Łuczak, and her boyfriend Mariusz Krężołek. His abuse included being starved, beaten, locked in a room, force-fed salt, and having his head held under bath water until he fell unconscious. Doctors described Daniel as looking like ’a concentration camp victim’ because of his weight. At the time of his death, he weighed one stone nine pounds - the average weight of an 18-month-old baby.
Whilst in school, Daniel’s lunch was only half a sandwich and reports claimed he tried to eat food from school bins. A teaching assistant told the court that Daniel had wanted to eat “muddy and dirty” pancakes which had been on the floor. Daniel’s school had been told by Magdalena that he was being treated for a rare eating disorder and school staff were not to feed him. They complied, but, police believe this was a lie to cover up Magdalena starving him. His sibling, who’s not been named, would often ask for extra food and would hide it for Daniel. The sibling also told the court that Daniel wasn’t allowed to leave his bedroom to use the bathroom. He had to defecate in his bed, which was a “very thin” mattress according to police. The only other thing inside Daniel’s room was heavily stained urine carpet. A detective on the case said that Daniel would spend winters in the cold room with no heating. His bedroom door had no handle, instead, there was a child’s handprint.
Magdalena and Mariusz were both sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of Daniel’s murder on 31 July 2013. On 14 July 2015, Magdalena committed suicide in prison, a day before what would have been Daniel’s eighth birthday. She had hung herself. On 27 January 2016, Mariusz was found dead in his prison cell. He had also committed suicide.
Indie rock band Little Comets dedicated their song “Salt” to Daniel. You can listen to it here. [x|x]
Photography duo Amit and Naroop have spent the past three years capturing the beauty and spirit of the Sikh community across the U.S. and UK. Now, in conjunction with a gallery show in NYC, they’d like to combine all seventy-two of their portraits into The Sikh Project, a book that will celebrate their subjects for years to come. Learn more about their project here.