Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: MP calls for review of ‘lenient’ sentences

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A lawmaker has urged that the “liberal” prison sentence given to the couple who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes should be reviewed by the attorney general.

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Arthur was left with an incurable brain injury in the sole care of 32-year-old Emma Tustin, who was sentenced on Friday to life imprisonment after being convicted of murder by attacking a defenseless child in Solihull on 16 June 2020 .

Tustin’s life sentence is a minimum of 29 years, while Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was sentenced to 21 years for murder.


Solihull MP Julian Knight, who offered flowers at the shrine for Arthur on Saturday afternoon, said on Twitter that he would refer the sentence for review by the attorney general.

Arthur was left with an incurable brain injury (Olivia Labinjo-Halcro/PA) , PA Media

He said: “I just laid flowers in the temple for young Arthur, with lots of touching tributes from the local residents and people around Solihull.

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“There’s a clear sense of real loss and tragedy to this and there’s also a clear sense of anger and questions about how this was allowed to happen, how these demons were allowed to inflict this horrific torture on this young defenseless boy.

“My view on this is very simple, we need to get to the bottom of how it happened and we need to make sure that those who have failed are accountable.

“But I also think that anyone considering those sentences yesterday would think they were too liberal and my intention is to try to refer it to the unnecessary liberal punishment plan as soon as possible and I will do that on Monday morning.” “

Wendy Thorogood, director of the Association of Child Protection Professionals, said the murder of Arthur, whose body was found covered in 130 injuries, was a “social responsibility”.

She told Times Radio: “She (should have been at the top of the priority list of social services) and you would have expected them to really look at her history, but unfortunately they follow what they see at the time. .

“I can’t comment on what they actually saw, but you have to remember that he was in the hands of quite cruel people who could sabotage him, his environment and professionals.

“I would have expected any assessment to actually take into account the pictures of Grandma I would have expected to have a conversation with Arthur, and that seems to have been missed.”

Ms Thorogood said Arthur was not receiving “extra” oversight from school and education because the incident happened during the coronavirus lockdown.

He continued: “I think he probably assessed that he was happy, playing, a boy fussy.

“I expect any bruises shown would have been shared with Health Health to see exactly where the injury was.

“The biggest thing is to actually talk to the baby and I can’t say if that actually happened or not.

“Equally, it is a society’s responsibility, regarding their cries were very unusual if we had an anonymous call from one of the neighbors that could have given them more power to investigate.

“He wasn’t on the child protection list, he wasn’t one of those kids you’d consider a priority.”

Lord Laming, who led the public inquiry into the death of Victoria Climby and reviewed the case of child Peter Connelly, said social workers should be appropriately trained and supported.

The colleague also warned that the financial cuts of the past decade have taken their toll.

It came as football fans applauded during the sixth minute of the West Ham vs Chelsea game as a picture of Arthur was shown on the screen.

More tributes were paid by Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City, while Aston Villa will do the same during Sunday’s clash with Leicester.

Former children’s minister Tim Lawton said “we” all have a “duty” to ensure that other vulnerable children are not as discouraged from social care as Arthur did.

The Tory MP wrote in The Sun, “Funding for social care for children has lagged behind and social workers are over- and under-reported, when in fact they should be honored as our fourth emergency service.”

“Early interventions to prevent the causes of safety problems have been diluted to late interventions for fire symptoms.

“It’s a false economy where a child paid with his life in this case. We are all interested in immediate enforcement of this right, and it is our duty to ensure that.”

Solihull’s local Child Protection Partnership launched an independent review when it emerged in court that the boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded that “there were no safety concerns”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that ministers “will leave absolutely no stone unturned” to establish what went wrong in the “horrific” case.

Speaking during a by-election campaign tour in North Shropshire, Mr Johnson said: “It’s early days, but I can tell you this, we will spare no effort to find out what went wrong with that horrific case.” “

Education Secretary Nadim Jahvi said he would make a statement on the matter in Parliament on Monday.


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