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19th Jan, 2022

Sentences for Arthur Labinjo-Hughes abusers to be reviewed

Sarah Mason 6th Dec, 2021

THE COUPLE who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes will have their sentences reviewed after claims they are too lenient.

Emma Tustin was jailed for 29 years on December 3 for murder and child cruelty and Arthur’s dad, Thomas Hughes was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

The Attorney General’s Office said the jail terms will be reviewed to “determine whether they were too low”.

The Attorney General’s Office has 28 days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, and decide whether to refer to the Court of Appeal.

It comes after Tory MP Julian Knight, who laid flowers at the shrine on Cranmore Road in Shirley for Arthur, revealed that he plans to lobby for longer sentences for the “evil monsters”.

In a video on Twitter Mr Knight said: “We need to get to the bottom of how this happened and we need to ensure that those who have failed him are accountable. But also, I think anyone reflecting on those sentences yesterday thinks they were too lenient.

“My intention is to refer this to the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme as soon as possible.”

Tustin, 32, repeatedly banged Arthur’s head on a hard surface in the hours leading up to his death on June 17 last year, after she and 29-year-old Hughes carried out a campaign of abuse, including starvation and then force-feeding him food covered in salt.

The police were called to Tustin’s home the day before Arthur died where he was found unconscious on the floor with a neighbour performing CPR on the six-year-old.

Police pieced together the events after trawling through hours of CCTV from inside the home and studying hundreds of messages, videos, audio files and photos on Tustin’s and Hughes’ mobile phones.

This included a message from Hughes to Tustin saying “Just end him.”

Police said the CCTV footage showed it took the couple 12minutes from when the fatal blow was delivered to them calling an ambulance.

During those 12 minutes, Tustin is seen to carry Arthur into the living room, into the kitchen and back into the living room, before propping him up on the sofa.

Hughes, who was out when the blow was delivered, arrived back home and the pair try to give Arthur a drink and some children’s paracetamol medicine, before 999 was finally called.

The force also worked with medical experts from various areas of clinical medicine and pathology to show that the six-year-old’s death had been caused by a head trauma inflicted on him by an adult.

During the trial at Coventry Crown Court harrowing videos were shown of Arthur being forced to sleep on the floor, stand in isolation for hours at a time, being sworn at and calling out no one loves him.

Arthur and Hughes, of Stroud Road, moved in with Tustin at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March 2020.

After Arthur’s death a neighbour told police she’d seen Arthur in February he’d seemed healthy, but by June he appeared physically weak, struggling to stand and he had difficulty in climbing stairs.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, said: “It’s not clear why Tustin and Hughes started to make Arthur’s place in his family home so truly awful and why they caused him such harm and suffering – but that harm and suffering was sustained and escalated over time.

“Nor is it clear why the couple installed a CCTV camera in their own living room, but sadly that footage has proved invaluable in demonstrating some of the hardships, emotional abuse and physical violence Arthur endured behind closed doors.

“We believe that both Tustin and then Hughes, understood how seriously Arthur was injured.

“Only the pair of them can explain why it took so long for an ambulance to be called, but we’d suggest it was the final act of cruelty they inflicted on Arthur.”

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