Man accused of torturing partner’s son to death ’embarrassed about being cruel’ to teenager
A man accused of torturing his partner’s son to death has told a court he is “embarrassed” about being “cruel” to the teenager but denies wanting him to die.
Sebastian Kalinowski (pictured) died last August of an infection caused by “untreated complications of multiple rib fractures”, which prosecutors allege came after weeks of “cruel assaults and abuse” at the hands of his mother and stepfather.
Jurors at Leeds Crown Court have heard the 15-year-old boy was beaten with a bed slat, whipped with an extension cable, stabbed with a needle and forced to perform “humiliating” exercise drills in what prosecutors say amounted to a campaign of “torture”.
Sebastian had been in the UK for less than a year after moving from Poland to live with his mother Agnieszka Kalinowska, 35, and her long-term partner Andrzej Latoszewski.
Prosecutors say the abuse by the couple was captured on CCTV cameras they had installed to “monitor Sebastian remotely” at their house in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
Kalinowska and Latoszewski both deny murdering Sebastian.
Latoszewski pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the second day of the trial, while both defendants pleaded guilty to cruelty to a child under the age of 16 a day later.
Kalinowska denies causing or allowing the death of a child, as well as a charge of neglect.
On Thursday Latoszewski told the court he accepted causing Sebastian’s death, saying he would “never forgive himself for it”.
Asked by his barrister Nicholas Lumley QC if he accepted being cruel to Sebastian, Latoszewski replied: “Yes, I accept that and feel really embarrassed about it.”
He denied intending to cause Sebastian’s death, or “hurting him so badly his ribs fractured”, saying it would “never have crossed my mind”.
Latoszewski also denied being abusive towards Kalinowska, his partner of 11 years.
The 36-year-old became tearful as he confirmed that he had a son of his own – two years younger than Sebastian.
He said he was born in Poland and moved to the UK in 2008 when his son was born because he wanted to “change his life”.
Latoszewski told the court he had known Kalinowska “by sight” from their home town since childhood, but was formally introduced to her through friends in around 2010.
He said she moved to the UK with her partner at the time – a friend of Latoszewski’s – and he rented the pair a room before starting a relationship with her himself.
The defendant said Kalinowska’s parents had suggested that Sebastian come to live with her in England.
“Agnieszka asked me about it and without any hesitation I agreed,” Latoszewski said.
“There were problems with Sebastian, his father had problems with him and he stated he no longer wanted Sebastian to live with him.
“I wanted him to be a normal person, I didn’t want him to be a criminal and I wanted him to have a wonderful childhood.”
He told the court he “tried to use as little force as possible” when punching Sebastian, saying he “f***** it up”.
Latoszewski initially said he did not believe Sebastian needed medical help before his death on August 13, but later said, “I would like to say that I spoke to Agnieszka about his condition and whether or not he required medical attention and we were really concerned about it.”
Jurors have previously heard that on August 13 2021, CCTV showed Latoszewski taking Sebastian out of his bedroom at 8.25am, before carrying him back around 15 minutes later, “naked, clearly wet and unconscious”.
Footage then shows Latoszewski attempting to resuscitate him.
Prosecutor Jason Pitter QC previously told jurors that emergency services were called “after Sebastian had been unconscious for some two-and-a-half hours”.
Asked about the delay, Latoszewski said: “I believe that Agnieszka was trying to call for an ambulance but she was physically shaking, she kept dropping her mobile phone.”
He told the court: “I swear to God I never wanted him to come to any serious harm and I didn’t want him to die.”
Under cross-examination by Marie Spenwyn, representing Kalinowska, Latoszewski denied that he began to be abusive a year into their relationship.
He said he “loved her even now”, and when asked if that made him “a very jealous man”, said: “I would keep the jealousy to myself because I believe it’s not very good to display it.”
He denied not allowing her to have many male friends, and monitoring her phone and social media.
Latoszewski said Kalinowska “was becoming more dependent on me due to the fact she had difficulty in finding work”, but denied that this “suited him”.
Ms Spenwyn said to him: “It was difficult for her to commit to a job because often she would have, for example, a black eye caused by you.”
The trial continues.
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