Three key opportunities that could have saved Arthur - The Solihull Observer

Three key opportunities that could have saved Arthur

Solihull Editorial 16th May, 2024   0

AN INDEPENDENT review into the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has revealed there were three ‘critical moments’ missed by authorities that could have saved him.

The six-year-old died in Shirley in 2020 after being tortured by his dad, Thomas Hughes, and stepmum, Emma Tustin, who were jailed for manslaughter and murder respectively.

The local practice report, commissioned by Solihull Council, pinpointed three opportunities when police and social care were involved that could have change everything.

The review by Ineqe Safeguarding Group, published by Solihull Safeguarding Board, looks at the response to concerns raised between April 15 and April 27 2020 – when Arthur’s case was closed by Solihull’s Council’s children’s services department.

The report said the first of those opportunities related to the police response to a social services emergency duty team request for a welfare check on April 16.

The second related to the failure to address evidence in the photo police received.

The report notes: “The photograph depicted injuries consistent with the crime of Actual Bodily Harm. Even if the police had shared it with their partners in children’s social care (and there is no evidence that they did), it would have still warranted and required a proper police investigation.

“In the opinion of the review, had the police chosen to investigate what was a credible allegation of a serious assault against a child, it is possible that Arthur may have been removed from the pathway to harm that he was ultimately on.”

It added the third critical opportunity was triggered when photos were shared with children’s social care on April 24 and Arthur’s case was closed on April 27.

The report said: “I find no good reason that the case was closed and that no one involved with the case or the oversight of it, paused to seriously reflect on the fact that Arthur had been injured in this way and to consider how they could help and protect him.”

Paul Johnson, chief executive of Solihull Council, said following conversations with Arthur’s paternal grandmother he felt it necessary for the Council to have an independent and clear assessment of safeguarding practice’s.

He added: “The Council has been under scrutiny for its children’s services and following an inadequate rating by Ofsted in January 2023, we have been addressing its recommendations and delivering an improvement plan.

“Positive progress is being made and this has been recognised by Ofsted through their regular monitoring visits.

ACC Claire Bell, from West Midlands Police, said: “The loss of someone so young in such terrible circumstances was incomprehensible and our thoughts continue to be with Arthur’s family.

“We accept the finding of this report and we will work with partners to embrace the learning.”


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