Life sentence for killer who blamed ghosts for murdering baby
Images of the child's injuries were posted on Facebook
Published 22/10/2015 | 18:44
The killer of a 14-month-old baby who claimed ghosts had attacked and killed the child has been handed a life sentence.
Czech national Marek Holub (27) will serve a minimum of 20 years for the murder of Santino Balaz, who died on New Year's Day after being attacked in Birmingham.
After attacking the baby, Holub post images of the injuries on Facebook along with a caption about saving him from being possessed.
The 27-year-old and his partner Tereza Lackova, 20, claimed the 14-month-baby was injured by ghosts haunting their flat but changed their pleas to guilty part-way through a trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Lackova, the child’s half-sister, was jailed for five years after admitting allowing the death of a child and neglect.
The victim's mother returned to the Czech Republic in September last year, leaving the child in Lackova's care at a flat in Brighton Road, Balsall Heath, Birmingham.
Commenting on the investigation into the death, Detective Inspector Justin Spanner, of West Midlands Police, said: "Santino was supposed to be in a safe environment and in the care of his own family.
"The couple claimed that either the spirit of Lackova's grandmother, who had died a short time ago, or the death of the woman who occupied their flat before them, had come back to injure Santino.
"We know from our inquiries that the pair had shared photos of Santino's injuries on their Facebook accounts and claimed the ghosts had caused them.”
Detectives believe baby Santino, born in Bilina in the Czech Republic and brought to England by his mother in June last year, was assaulted on at least three occasions between November and the date of his death.
"Unfortunately no one ever came forward to report concerns around these images,” said Inspector Spanner.
“The death of one so young is always tragic but the agony that this young boy must have endured over his short life is truly dreadful.
"I would like this case to serve as a reminder to people that if they have concerns over a child's welfare please report it to police so we can put the necessary checks in place to make sure they are safe.
"We can only take comfort in the fact that Tereza Lackova and Marek Holub are behind bars for a significant period."