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27-year-old Marek Holub, a Czech national, finally admitted what he’d done to 14-month-old Santino Balaz, leading up to and then concluding in his death.

Marek, of Balsall Heath, Birmingham in the UK, changed his plea to guilty two thirds of the way into his and 20-year-old Tereza Lackova’s trial for murder in Leicester Crown Court.

Unbelievably, the couple had initially claimed that ghosts haunting them had caused the boy’s death.

He had beaten the boy repeatedly for weeks before strangling him. Tereza admitted she’d allowed it.

Marek and Tereza were arrested after Birmingham Children’s Hospital staff noticed the boy had a number of visible injuries, including bruises to his face, chest, legs and arms.

An autopsy revealed that the child had multiple injuries and trauma in the weeks before his death.

Detective Inspector Justin Spanner of the West Midlands Police said, “Santino was found to have extensive injuries and fractures to several areas of his body. This was a complex investigation involving colleagues in the Czech Republic who supported our [inquiries] abroad.”

A spokesman said, “The probable cause of death is asphyxiation caused by multiple injuries, but this is not conclusive.”

Marek Holub pleaded guilty to murder, child neglect, and child cruelty.

Tereza Lackova pleaded guilty to allowing the death of a child, and neglect.