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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes would be a thriving 7-year-old…but was failed by a system that should have kept him safe


THE gran of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes yesterday slammed evil stepmum Emma Tustin and the child care system for robbing the boy of a lifetime of happiness.

Pitiless Tustin was caged for 29 years for Arthur’s murder while cruel partner Thomas Hughes got 21 years for the manslaughter of his son.

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Little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s gran slammed evil stepmum Emma Tustin and the child care system for robbing the boy of a lifetime of happiness[/caption]

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Arthur died in hospital from brain bleeds in the early hours of June 17 — when doctors noticed 130 areas of bruising on his body[/caption]

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Arthur’s mum Olivia said: ‘Never did I imagine I would never hear that giggle again or hear him say, ‘I love you mummy bear’[/caption]

In a powerful victim impact statement read at Coventry crown court, Arthur’s paternal gran Joanne Hughes said he should today be a “thriving” seven-year-old.

But she said he had been failed by the local authority who refused to listen to multiple warnings from ­family members that he was in ­mortal danger.

PM Boris Johnson later vowed to leave “no stone unturned” to find out how authorities failed to protect little Arthur.

Joanne’s statement said: “As a mother and grandmother it is with profound despondency that I have failed in my sole purpose to keep my loved ones safe and ensure their life is filled only with love, happiness and contentment.

“We as a family are emphatic that Arthur would be alive today, a happy, contented, thriving, seven-year-old, with the opportunity to reach his full potential during his lifetime, if Tom had not met Emma Tustin.

“We believe this now and forevermore.”

Arthur died after being brutally shaken and slammed into concrete walls and floor by Tustin in the hall of her council house in Solihull, West Mids, on June 16 last year.

Jobless Tustin, 32, who was pregnant with Hughes’s child, told police the little boy had inflicted his own injuries.

She took a photo of the youngster as he lay dying — and then took more than 12 minutes to dial 999.

Hughes, 29, a failed football coach turned plasterer, was accused of encouraging the killing, including a text to her 18 hours earlier telling her “just end him”.

We as a family are emphatic that Arthur would be alive today, a happy, contented, thriving, seven-year-old, with the opportunity to reach his full potential during his lifetime, if Tom had not met Emma Tustin.


Joanne Hughes

Arthur died in hospital from brain bleeds in the early hours of June 17 — when doctors noticed 130 areas of bruising on his body.

He also had so much salt in his body that medics thought their machinery had broken.

In her statement, Joanne, 54, said: “I’ve also noted the complete lack of remorse through this trial shown by Miss Tustin.

“At no time have I heard evidence of her asking about Arthur or his condition — only her complete disdain and inconvenience of the situation.”

Arthur’s family raised concerns with Solihull Council’s social services two months before his death.

But after a home visit by social services, no further action was taken.

Two social workers claimed they were unable to see large bruises ­photographed by Joanne on Arthur’s back 25 hours earlier.

West Midlands Police also shut down a log after Arthur’s uncle sent pictures of the bruising to an officer.

After the couple met on a dating site, Hughes moved in with Arthur at Tustin’s house when the country entered lockdown in March 2020.

For at least a month and a half, Arthur was made to stand up in a hallway “all day, every day” in a “gruelling regime”.

I’ve also noted the complete lack of remorse through this trial shown by Miss Tustin.


Joanne Hughes

Sentencing, Mr Justice Mark Wall QC said he was troubled that two of Tustin’s own children “were being so well cared for just yards from where this cruelty was being meted out”.

Mr Wall said it was “chilling” how Hughes encouraged her actions.

He had no doubt Arthur was regularly beaten by the pair and revealed Hughes even researched “pressure points” to inflict “maximum pain with minimum injury”.

Tustin made more than 200 recordings of Arthur in “various stages of distress”, many of which were sent to Hughes.

Hughes got full custody of Arthur after his mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 28, stabbed her boyfriend to death in February 2019.

She was later jailed for manslaughter.

A statement from Labinjo-Halcrow read by Arthur’s other gran Madeleine Halcrow said: “He knew he was going to see me very soon and he asked me how many packs of Drumstick Squashies I had saved for him.”

It adds: ‘‘He never got his ­Drumstick Squashies and I never got to see the smile behind his eyes.”

Five deadly mistakes that led to Arthur, 6, losing his life

The court also heard Tustin had terminated a pregnancy and had attempted to kill herself during the trial.

A review into Arthur’s death and social services involvement will now begin.

The PM said: “What we’ve got to make sure now is we learn the lessons about that case, we look at exactly what ­happened, what else could have been done to protect that child.

“And it is early days, but I can tell you this, we will leave absolutely no stone unturned to find out exactly what went wrong in that appalling case.”

Gerry Hannah, chair of children’s charity Parenting Together, said: “The strong ­sentences handed down by the judge sends the right message, but we still need change.

“Hopefully this is a turning point.”

Anguish of mum Olivia

“He knew he was going to see me very soon and he asked me how many packs of Drumstick Squashies I had saved for him.

I told him he could have as many packs as he wanted as long as he ate his sausage, mash and peas first.

Arthur’s mum Olivia said: ‘I never got to see the smile behind his eyes’

He giggled his usual mischievous giggle and said, ‘OK mum, I promise’.

Never did I imagine I would never hear that giggle again or hear him say, ‘I love you mummy bear’.

He never got his Drumstick Squashies and I never got to see the smile behind his eyes.”

Torment of gran Joanne

“I’ve noted the complete lack of remorse through this trial shown by Miss Tustin.

At no time have I heard evidence of her asking about Arthur or his condition — only her complete disdain and inconvenience of the situation.

However, I noted several times that she thought it appropriate to bring to the attention of others Arthur’s behaviour to justify her actions.

The only pity she has shown is for herself, and not once has she apologised for Arthur’s passing while in her sole care.

It is clear from Miss Tustin’s evidence we as a family will not have a definite answer or explanation as to how Arthur died.

Yet another burden we will have to shoulder for our lifetime.”

Pitiless stepmum Tustin was caged for 29 years for Arthur’s murder
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Arthur’s dad Thomas Hughes got 21 years for the manslaughter of his son[/caption]


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