Lessons must be learned after six-year-old’s murder, says PM

·2 min read

Boris Johnson has said ministers will leave “absolutely no stone unturned” to establish what went wrong in the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The six-year-old’s stepmother, Emma Tustin, was jailed for life on Friday after being found guilty of his murder, while his father, Thomas Hughes, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

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

Speaking during a by-election campaign visit in north Shropshire, the Prime Minister said it was essential that lessons were learned from what happened.

“I just want to say, on the tragic and appalling case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, like many people I find it hard to read it, let alone to understand how people could behave like that to a defenceless little child,” he said.

“I’m glad that justice had been done, in the sense that they have both received tough sentences, but that is absolutely no consolation, and 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.

“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.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he would be making a statement on the case to Parliament on Monday.

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said lessons must learned from what happened (Leon Neal/PA)

“We are determined to protect children from harm and where concerns are raised we will not hesitate to take urgent and robust action,” he said.

“We will not rest until we have the answers we need.”

Councillor Ian Courts, leader of Solihull Council, said in a statement he was “deeply shocked and appalled” at the death of Arthur, adding that the council would “leave no stone unturned to understand, learn and fix any issues that the independent review finds” and “any further actions that may come about through subsequent reviews and inspections”.

Earlier Tustin, 32, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years at Coventry Crown Court.

She fatally assaulted Arthur in the hallway of her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, on June 16 2020, having previously abused, starved and poisoned him.

During the trial, jurors heard Solihull Council social workers visited the boy at Tustin’s home on April 17 2020.

The visit was prompted after Arthur’s paternal grandmother, secondary school teacher Joanne Hughes, rang the out-of-hours emergency social services team to report bruises she had seen on the boy’s back.

Despite social workers then examining Arthur’s back and finding a “faint” yellow bruise, they agreed with Tustin and Hughes that it was a “happy household”, with no cause for concern.

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