PM says "questions need to be answered" after murder of 6-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

3 December 2021, 13:06 | Updated: 3 December 2021, 13:11

Arthur's dad and stepmother will be sentenced later today
Arthur's dad and stepmother will be sentenced later today. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The Prime Minister has said "questions that need to be answered" by child protection authorities after the tragic death of six year old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

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Boris Johnson said he found the details of the case "deeply disturbing" adding that "no child should ever suffer" in the way Arthur did.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of "evil" 32-year-old Emma Tustin, after she had cruelly abused, starved and poisoned him.

Tustin was unanimously convicted on Thursday of Arthur's murder after an eight-week trial, with the boy's "pitiless" father, Thomas Hughes, 29, found guilty of his manslaughter, after encouraging the killing.

Whilst a practice review is being conducted into the local child safeguarding practice, Mr Johnson said questions must be asked to "get to the bottom of how this happened".

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It emerged at trial that Arthur had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, after concerns were raised by his paternal grandmother, Joanne Hughes, but they concluded there were "no safeguarding concerns".

But Arthur's grandmother told the court today that her grandson "was failed by the very authorities" tasked with keeping him safe.

A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: "The Prime Minister found the details of this case deeply disturbing and his thoughts are with those who loved Arthur, and no child should ever suffer in the way that he did.

"It's clear there are questions that need to be answered to get to the bottom of how this happened.

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"You'll be aware that a local child safeguarding practice review is under way to fully assess the circumstances surrounding Arthur's tragic death at the hands of those who should have been looking after him, and that review will look at local safeguarding, including police, children's social care, health and education professionals in the local area.

"We won't hesitate to take any action off the back of that review."

He added that the Government's manifesto had "committed to a review of the children's social care system to make sure children and young people get the support they need".

Arthur's maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, in a victim impact statement delivered on behalf of the boy's natural mother, recalled his "beautiful smile" and his "kind, nurturing spirit", adding that he had been "the light of my life".

"He was let down by a person he trusted and should have protected him, left alone and isolated, and then they took him away from me," she said.

"My child, my little love, defenceless, trusting and nothing but loving, was killed.

"His short life stolen and the hole left in me and those who loved Arthur will never be repaired.

"Sleep well, my angel - you are truly loved."

The pair are set to be sentence at Coventry Crown Court later today.