A mother and her partner have both been jailed for life with a minimum term of 39 years for murdering her son during a campaign of “horrific and prolonged torture”.
Sebastian Kalinowski died on 13 August 2021 at his family home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. His mother Agnieszka, 35, and her long-term partner Andrzej Latoszewski, 38, were convicted of his murder, with Mrs Justice Lambert labelling the treatment of the teenage boy “horrifying”.
Sebastian had been described as a “pleasant and well-mannered boy” by teaching staff at his school, who added that he was “observed to be quiet and timid, and at times appeared sad”.
Both Kalinowska and Latoszewski both denied killing Sebastian. at Leeds Crown Court. However, earlier this year a jury at Leeds Crown Court found the pair guilty of his murder after three and a half hours of deliberation.
A jury at Leeds Crown Court had heard the 15-year-old, who had been in the UK for less than a year after moving from Poland to live with his mother, was beaten with a bed slat, whipped with an extension cable and stabbed with a needle at the couple’s home in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Sebastian’s father Jacek Kalinowski watched the proceedings by video link from Poland.
What happened during the sentencing hearing?
Mrs Justice Lambert was broadcast handing down her sentence – the third time cameras have been allowed into an English criminal crown court to record a sentencing.
Sentencing Kalinowska and Latoszewski, Mrs Justice Lambert told them: “You, Latoszewski, are a bully. Like all bullies, you sought to intimidate and frighten Sebastian, who was weaker than you.
“In Sebastian you found an easy prey. There were times when viewing the footage I was sure you had lost awareness of the fact that you were hitting a human being and not a punching bag.
“As for you, Kalinowska, the explanation is simple – you just didn’t care about Sebastian. You were only interested in yourself.” The judge said that between the start of the school holidays in July and Sebastian’s death in August, there was “scarcely a day that went by that Sebastian was not subjected to some form of physical abuse”.
She told the defendants: “Sebastian was a young teenage boy who spoke little if any English, had neither friends nor allies in this country and was wholly dependent on you both for his wellbeing.”
Kalinowska sobbed as she was led out of the dock, while Latoszewski showed little emotion but had his head in his hands for most of the hearing.
Most of the trial jurors returned to court for the sentencing, while sobs could be heard from the public gallery as the judge described some of the abuse.
In mitigation for Latoszewski, Geraldine Kelly said: “However unreasonable it seems, and distorted a way of thinking, there is evidence to suggest what motivated this appalling conduct was them seeking to discipline (Sebastian).”
What has Sebastian’s dad said?
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Mr Kalinowski called Kalinowska “the greatest evil that walks this Earth”.
He said: “In a cruel and heartless way you have taken the life of my son. You turned every day of Sebastian’s life into a nightmare. Why did you hate him to that degree when you allowed that psychopath to treat Sebastian like that, and then you readily participated in the whole thing.
“You inflicted so much pain and humiliation on him. You made my son a punchbag for yourself, you committed a terrifying act and you were merciless.
“I made many mistakes as a parent. Perhaps I was not able to be a perfect father, but I loved Sebastian. However I could not protect him from evil, evil which was inflicted on him by his own mother.”
What happened to Sebastian Kalinowski?
Kalinowska and Latoszewski appeared at Leeds Crown Court, where a jury heard of a campaign of torture the pair inflicted on Sebastian which ultimately led to his death.
Prosecutors told the court that in the weeks leading up to Sebastian’s death, the teenager had been beaten with a bed slat, whipped with an extention cable and stabbed with a needle.
Jurors were told that Kalinowska and Latoszewski used the abuse methods to punish her son, with the abuse becoming harsher and more frequent from January 2021 onwards.
Prosecutor Jason Pitter QC told the jury during the trial: “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.
“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.”
Additionally, CCTV had been installed in their family home, with procesuters saying this was partially to “monitor and excert control over Sebastian remotely”. Footage from the CCTV system and from mobile phones was shown in court to illustrate the abuse Sebastian was victim of.
Mr Pitter said that the footage included Latoszewski beating Sebastian’s buttocks with a bed slat, while another video showed him forcing the young boy to do exercises while whipping him with an extention cord to “spur him on”.
A video filmed 24 hours before Sebastian’s death showed Latoszewski “forcing food and drink into Sebastian’s mouth” and “stabbing him a number of times” with a neddle in his groin area, with Kalinowska taking over stabbing her son with the needle. Latoszewski also appeared to be “laughing whilst he did so”.
How did Sebastian Kalinowski die?
On the day of Sebastian’s death, Mr Pitter said that Sebastian was put through “the routine of being assaulted by both defendants”. Further CCTV showed Latoszewski carrying the 15-year-old out of the bedroom at around 8.25am before carrying him back in around 15 minutes later.
The teenager was said to be “naked, clearly wet and unconcious” when his mother’s partner carried him back. Sebastian had been “unconcious for some two and a half hours” before emergency services were called to the home.
It was later confirmed that Sebastian had suffered bruising to his buttocks, forehead, jaw, abdonmen, arms and legs and multiple rib fractures. His cause of death was given as “untreated complications of multiple rib fractures”.