The sister of a baby aged 14 months and her boyfriend have been jailed for a total of 25 years, after being convicted for their part in the baby’s murder.
The court heard that Santino Balaz was bought to the UK from the Czech Republic by his mother in June 2014.
However, four months later his mother returned to her native country, leaving her baby in the care of his 20-year-old sister, Tereza Lackova, and her 28-year-old boyfriend, Marek Holub.
On New Year's Day 2015, Lackova went to a neighbour's flat and asked them to call the emergency services, as Santino was not breathing.
The baby was taken to the Birmingham Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Medical staff at the hospital noted a large number of visible, non-accidental injuries to the child's face and body – as well as cuts to his nose, tongue and lip.
The police were immediately notified and an investigation into Santino's death was launched. Lackova and Holub were arrested, but they blamed each other and “spirits” for the injuries to Santino.
However, Holub later pleaded guilty to murder, causing or allowing the death of a child – and two counts of cruelty to a person under 16 years.
He was jailed for life and will have to serve a minimum of 20 years
Lackova pleaded guilty to causing or allowing the death of a child and was jailed for five years.
After sentencing, Acting Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Crown Court Unit, David Elliot, said:
“Santino was put into the care of his sister, as their mother had put her trust and faith in her daughter that she would care for and protect her baby brother.
“Instead, Tereza Lackova and her partner Marek Holub subjected the defenceless and vulnerable child to continuous and brutal attacks, which would result in Santino losing his life.
“Over a period of a few months, Santino had sustained injuries to nearly every part of his body – and Lackova made no attempts to halt the attacks, call the police, or seek any form of medical help for the child.
“Instead, she let Santino suffer the pain and hurt which was being inflicted on him by both of the defendants.
“When medical help was eventually sought, it was too little, too late.
“Lackova and Holub both admitted their guilt in this truly wicked crime – and we hope that today's sentencing conviction brings some solace to the family and friends of Santino.”
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