Boy, 15, ‘whipped with cable’ died after ‘cruel campaign of torture by mother and partner’

A teenage boy was beaten with a bed slat, whipped with an extension cable and stabbed with a needle during a campaign of “torture” which ended in his death, a court has heard.

Sebastian Kalinowski, 15, died last August of an infection caused by “untreated complications of multiple rib fractures”, which allegedly came after weeks of “cruel assaults and abuse” by his mother and her partner.

Leeds Crown Court heard the teenager had been in the UK for less than a year after moving from Poland to live with Agnieszka Kalinowska, 35, and her long-term partner Andrzej Latoszewski, 36.

After the couple were arrested in connection with Sebastian’s death, police seized CCTV cameras from their house in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, which prosecutor Jason Pitter QC said had been installed partly to “monitor and exert control over Sebastian remotely”.

“In a twist, it is that system that has recorded the abuse he had to endure,” he told the court.

Ms Kalinowska and Mr Latoszewski deny murder and alternative counts of manslaughter and causing or allowing the death of a child, as well as a charge of neglect.

Mr Pitter said both defendants will argue their treatment of Sebastian was “reasonable chastisement”.

The court heard Sebastian came to Huddersfield in October 2020, with teaching staff describing him as “a pleasant and well-mannered boy” who “was observed to be quiet and timid, and at times appeared sad”.

Mr Pitter said: “In the very early stages it would appear that, at least for Kalinowska, she was glad that her son was here with her. She was described by a friend as being ‘smitten’.

“If that was correct, that was unfortunately to change rapidly.”

He told jurors that by New Year’s Eve the defendants’ attitude was that Sebastian was “something of a hindrance” and they spoke about him being a liar and playing truant from school.

Mr Pitter told jurors: “You may conclude that these were attempts to justify what they would present as a need for Sebastian’s ‘punishments’.

“The punishments, if that is an appropriate way to describe them, were by any stretch of the imagination cruel and became increasingly more severe and violent over time.”

He said: “It would appear that the punishments were precipitated by things such as Sebastian merely dropping food on his bedroom floor, or even just having gone to the toilet during the night.”

Jurors heard that from January 2021, “the disciplining of Sebastian became progressively harsh” and he was “kept deliberately out of the way of others, either as part of the system of punishment or to hide the abuse.”

Mr Pitter said emergency services were called to the defendants’ house by Mr Latoszewski on 13 August “after Sebastian had been unconscious for some two and a half hours”.

He told jurors Mr Latoszewski said he had found Sebastian in the bath with his head under water, “suggesting perhaps that he had drowned”.

The court heard that an examination of Sebastian revealed injuries including bruising to his buttocks, forehead, jaw, abdomen, arms and legs, and multiple rib fractures.

Mr Pitter said: “[The defendants’] telephones were seized and that installed CCTV system was interrogated.

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