Couple jailed for 25 years for murder of toddler


The sister of a 14-month-old baby and her boyfriend have today been jailed for 25 years at Leicester Crown Court for their part in the murder of the toddler.

Santino Balaz was bought to the United Kingdom by his mother in June 2014 from the Czech Republic. Four months later his mother returned back to her country and he was left in the care of his 20-year-old sister, Tereza Lackova and her 28-year-old boyfriend Marek Holub.

On New Year's Day this year, Lackova went to a neighbour's flat and asked them to call the emergency services as Santino was not breathing. The victim was taken to the Birmingham Children's Hospital where a short time later he was pronounced dead.

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 was into Santino's death was launched.

The defendants were arrested and they began to blame each other as well as 'spirits' for having caused the injuries.

Holub pleaded guilty to murder, causing or allowing the death of a child and two counts of cruelty to a person under 16 years and was jailed to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 20 years

Lackova pleaded guilty to causing or allowing the death of a child and jailed to five years' imprisonment.

David Elliot, Acting Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Crown Court Unit, 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."