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Susanna Reid cried on live TV today as the grandmother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes sobbed while describing the abuse the little boy suffered before he was murdered by his monstrous step-mother after being egged on to ‘end him’ by his evil father.

Ms Reid, 50, a mother of three herself, wiped away tears as Madeleine Halcrow spoke about her own grief and the attempts to ask social services to save the six-year-old schoolboy killed in Solihull in June last year. 

Susanna could also be heard crying loudly off camera as Madeleine spoke, and tears rolled down the star’s face as she passed a box of tissues to Arthur’s heartbroken maternal grandmother on Good Morning Britain this morning.

In Ms Halcrow’s first TV studio appearance since Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were jailed, she discussed the opportunities to save Arthur that were missed, and cried as she described seeing marks on his back and ‘imagining the pain Arthur would have been in receiving those bruises’.

She called social services only to be told they had been to see him the day before and ‘didn’t find anything untoward’. The authorities have since been accused of missing at least four opportunities to save Arthur having ignored pleas from his family to rescue him. Lockdown exacerbated the problems, with schools closed and social worker visits done on Zoom leaving vulnerable children all over the UK alone all day every day with those tormenting them.  

Arthur would later be battered to death by his feckless stepmother Tustin, who was jailed for life with a minimum of 29 years on Friday after she was convicted of murdering six-year-old at her home in the West Midlands.

His father, Thomas Hughes, was also jailed for 21 years after being convicted of manslaughter for encouraging the killing, including by sending a text message to Tustin hours before the fatal assault telling her ‘just end him’. 

Madeleine’s daughter Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, Arthur’s biological mother, was sentenced to 11 years in jail for stabbing her lover to death – leaving the tragic six-year-old at the mercy of his evil father and stepmother. 

Today Olivia’s father Peter, Arthur’s maternal grandfather who is no longer in a relationship with Madeleine, has claimed other warnings from family members were ‘not acted on’ as he campaigned for ‘Arthur’s Law’, which would see anyone who carries out the murder of a child sent to prison indefinitely. 

As millions grieve Arthur’s tragic death, it also emerged today:

  • Child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes will never been released from prison under proposals backed by the Prime Minister;
  • Campaigners say schools must not be shut down because of Covid again to protect vulnerable youngsters with tens of thousands of ‘ghost children’ at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns;   
  • Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed there will be an investigation into the failings leading to the death of Arthur, including the missed chances to save him after social services were contacted;

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his step-mother Emma Tustin at her home in Solihull

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his step-mother Emma Tustin at her home in Solihull

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his step-mother Emma Tustin at her home in Solihull

Susanna Reid broke down as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' grandmother Madeleine Halcrow broke down on Good Morning Britain as she recalled how she tried to save her grandson

Susanna Reid broke down as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' grandmother Madeleine Halcrow broke down on Good Morning Britain as she recalled how she tried to save her grandson

Susanna Reid broke down as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (pictured) broke down on Good Morning Britain as she recalled how she tried to save her grandson

Susanna Reid broke down as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (pictured) broke down on Good Morning Britain as she recalled how she tried to save her grandson

Susanna Reid broke down (left) as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (right) broke down on Good Morning Britain as she recalled how she tried to save her grandson

Madeleine with her beloved son Arthur, whose death has appalled and saddened millions of Britons and more around the world

Madeleine with her beloved son Arthur, whose death has appalled and saddened millions of Britons and more around the world

Madeleine with her beloved son Arthur, whose death has appalled and saddened millions of Britons and more around the world

Boris backs ‘Arthur’s law’: Child killers like step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old would NEVER be released

Child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes will never been released from prison under proposals backed by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

‘Arthur’s Law’ would see anyone who carries out the murder of a child sent to prison indefinitely.

‘Anyone who plans then carries out the murder of a child should never be released from prison, so we’re toughening the law to make whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes,’ Mr Johnson told The Sun.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of ‘ghost children’ are at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns, a senior MP warned.

Robert Halfon, chairman of the Commons education committee, said 100,000 pupils were ‘lost in the system’ and therefore vulnerable to cruelty at home.

His warning came as Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed there will be an investigation into the failings leading to the death of Arthur.

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On Good Morning Britain today, his grandmother Madeleine Halcrow made her first television appearance to discuss the opportunities to save Arthur that were missed.

Co-host Martin Lewis asked: ‘Arthur’s paternal grandmother got in touch with you didn’t she about the bruises?’

Madeline, who is a nurse, explained she was visited by Thomas’ mother Joanna Hughes and her husband Chris.

‘Joanna said they had found bruises on Arthur,’ Madeline explained. ‘She showed [me the pictures] and straight away I said, ‘Those are non-accidental injures, they are caused by an adult hand.’

‘I said, ‘On his right shoulder I can see three fingers and his left shoulder that has been caused by being hit with something or being pushed against something.’

‘But the most disturbing thing to me and I said this to Chris and Jo, ‘There’s new bruises on top of old,’ Madeline said as she broke down in tears.

It comes as Ms Halcrow said warnings about the treatment of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes were ignored and something in the system responsible for ensuring his safety is broken.

Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, was jailed for life at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, with a minimum term of 29 years, after being found guilty of the six-year-old’s murder.

His father, Thomas Hughes, 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

The pair showed ‘no remorse, no sympathy’, Arthur’s maternal grandmother said, as she branded them ‘depraved, sadistic, torturous, evil, calculating people’.

Madeleine Halcrow, who described her grandson as having been ‘the happiest child’ before he went to live with his father and stepmother as the UK went into lockdown in March 2020, said she felt anger towards the organisations responsible for monitoring his safety.

In a tearful interview, she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I am angry with the inter agencies because somewhere along the line communication hasn’t been passed along. The old adage, ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. Well something is broken in this system and something needs fixing.’

Grandfather of murdered Arthur slams authorities for ‘not acting on’ concerns from family and even neighbours 

The grandfather of tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes said ‘alarm bells were ringing all around’ over the six-year-old’s horrific abuse and that safety concerns raised by relatives and neighbours were ignored.

It emerged in court that Arthur was seen by social workers during the first national lockdown just two months before his death in Solihull, West Midlands, in June last year. But they concluded there were ‘no safeguarding concerns’ and closed the file. 

It was also reported today that social workers lost crucial notes about the case from a visit before the trial began. 

Now Arthur’s maternal grandfather, Peter Halcrow, has claimed other warnings from family members were ‘not acted on’.

He told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘It’s not as if it was a passing-by thing. 

‘People were flagging up there were problems and social services got involved and said there was nothing to worry about. Hey-ho three or four months later, the boy’s dead. 

‘They must have a tick list to do, the house is clean and tidy, blah, blah, blah, so they won’t worry about it.

‘If alarm bells are ringing all around, with neighbours giving statements, surely there must be someone or some kind of body which can step in and say we’re taking that child out of that situation. 

‘The father is not man enough to do that himself, someone has to say this child is suffering and needs help and I guess that’s what social services are for.’

 

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Peter Halcrow, Arthur’s maternal grandfather, said warnings were issued by the little boy’s paternal grandparents, by whom he was ‘well loved and well looked after’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘They’re decent people, and they were very concerned, and they issued warnings which were ignored, shall we say.’

He added: ‘I can’t understand why something wasn’t done about it.

‘I don’t know who runs Solihull social services or who went round to the house, because they were called and they must have had a snapshot of the house, and they must have felt everything was fine.

‘There’s been phone calls made to West Midlands Police as well, which were not acted on. It’s a tough one, when you hear the kind of abuse the boy was going through.’

He said someone should have stepped in when ‘alarm bells’ were ringing.

Asked what he would like reviews into the six-year-old’s situation to consider, he told Today: ‘It’s not as if it was a kind of ‘passing by’ thing. I mean, people were flagging up there were problems and social services got involved and said there was nothing to worry about, and then ‘hey ho’, three or four months later, the boy is dead.

‘How can you ask me what I would like them to consider? I mean, they must have a tick-list to do, ‘house is clean, everything’s tidy, blah, blah, blah, so we’ll not worry about it’.

‘If alarm bells are ringing all around, even neighbour statements, then surely, there must be someone or some kind of body that can step in and say: ‘Right, we’re taking that child out of that situation,’ you know?

‘If the father is not man enough to do that himself then someone has to say: ‘This child is suffering and needs help,’ and take them out of the situation. And I guess that’s what social services are for.’

As for the couple responsible for his death, Mr Halcrow said they had committed a ‘heinous crime’ by killing a ‘defenceless, innocent boy’.

Mr Halcrow said: ‘I wouldn’t give them the time of day and I wouldn’t want them to see the light of day ever again.’

Arthur was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of ‘evil’ Tustin.

She was convicted of murder by assaulting defenceless Arthur in the hallway of her Cranmore Road home in Solihull on June 16 last year.

Arthur, whose body was covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

Ms Halcrow said of the jail sentences: ‘Life should mean life. They took Arthur’s life, he’s not going to get his life back, he’s not going to have children of his own.’

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of Ofsted, said they will be starting work on their investigation into services involved with child protection in Solihull, where Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died, next week.

She told Today: ‘It’s not an investigation of the case itself, which is a separate piece of work, but we’ll be looking at how those services jointly are dealing with child protection at the moment and what improvements can be made.’

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

It was revealed Arthur had been made to consume at least 34g of salt in the hours before his death leading to a sodium level which was ‘off the scale’ by the time he reached hospital

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin who has been convicted of murder while Hughes, 29, is guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Coventry Crown Court

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin who has been convicted of murder while Hughes, 29, is guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Coventry Crown Court

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin who has been convicted of murder while Hughes, 29, is guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Coventry Crown Court

Child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes will never been released from prison under proposals backed by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

‘Arthur’s Law’ would see anyone who carries out the murder of a child sent to prison indefinitely.

‘Anyone who plans then carries out the murder of a child should never be released from prison, so we’re toughening the law to make whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes,’ Mr Johnson told The Sun

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of ‘ghost children’ are at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns, a senior MP warned. 

His warning came as Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi confirmed there will be an investigation into the failings leading to the death of Arthur.  

Boris Johnson wants child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to never be released from prison

Boris Johnson wants child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to never be released from prison

Boris Johnson wants child killers like the step-mother and father of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to never be released from prison

Tens of thousands of 'ghost children' are at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns, senior MP Robert Halfon warned yesterday. Above: Murdered six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Tens of thousands of 'ghost children' are at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns, senior MP Robert Halfon warned yesterday. Above: Murdered six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Tens of thousands of ‘ghost children’ are at risk of abuse after failing to return to school following the lockdowns, senior MP Robert Halfon warned yesterday. Above: Murdered six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

It emerged in court that Arthur was seen by social workers during the first national lockdown just two months before his death in Solihull, West Midlands, in June last year. But they concluded there were ‘no safeguarding concerns’ and closed the file.

Mr Halfon told MPs: ‘There are 100,000 what I call the ghost children, who are lost in the system and who haven’t returned to school for the most time, who are subject to potential safeguarding hazards, county lines gangs, online harm and, of course, awful domestic abuse.’ 

Mr Halfon asked Mr Zahawi to make a ‘real effort to work with the local authorities, to work with the schools and the regional commissioners to make sure that those 100,000 children who are mostly not in school are returned to school and are being watched by those authorities when they need to be watched’.

Mr Zahawi replied: ‘It is a concerning issue and it is a focus for my department.’

Boy who never stood a chance: From a killer mother to father and stepmother who mocked and abused him till his dying day – timeline of tragic case 

Social workers were called to the home two months prior to Arthur's death after his grandmother raised concerns about bruises on his back, but no further action was taken

Social workers were called to the home two months prior to Arthur's death after his grandmother raised concerns about bruises on his back, but no further action was taken

Social workers were called to the home two months prior to Arthur’s death after his grandmother raised concerns about bruises on his back, but no further action was taken 

2019

February: Arthur’s biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, kills her partner Gary Cunningham by  stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife. 

Arthur is moved into the care of his father, Thomas Hughes, 29. Later he meets Emma Tustin, 32, online. 

Hughes and Arthur moved into an annexe at the back of his parent’s garden. 

His grandmother said Arthur was ‘nervous’ at first but became a ‘happy, well-rounded child’. 

August: Hughes met Tustin on dating website Plenty of Fish. They went on their first date in a pub.   

Tustin failed to reveal that in 2013 she had tried to commit suicide. 

She also failed to reveal how her first two children went to live with their fathers. 

After three dates Hughes introduced Tustin to Arthur.

September: Hughes’ brother Blake said his nephew’s behaviour ‘change quite a lot’. 

He said his brother became more anxious at being told off while his brother ‘became a lot stricter.’

Hughes also recalled an incident where he argued with Tustin because he bought Arthur a Subway sandwich, which she said was ‘an unnecessary treat.’

October: Aileen Carabine, a special educational coordinator at Arthur’s school, said Arthur ‘deteriorated’ that month. 

She said he became more reserved, anxious and ‘not quite as smiley’. 

November: Thomas and his mother Joanne met with Arthur’s school to discuss their growing concerns about his behaviour. 

Teachers said Arthur was having nightmares and spoke of his father ‘killing him.’

Tustin became pregnant with Hughes, but had a miscarriage.

December: Arthur became upset during a Christmas nativity when the baby was taken out of its crib. 

Hughes proposed to Tustin in the annexe. 

2020 

January: Arthur’s school begin to raise concerns about him, including his ‘clinginess’ and ‘obsession’ with soft toys’. 

February: Tustin took Arthur with her to have her hair done. Arthur was made to sit at a table with his hands on his knees and not move. 

March: Hughes and Arthur move into Tustin’s home in Solihull. 

April 16:  Arthur’s paternal grandmother, Joanne Hughes, made a call to Solihull council’s emergency team to report bruises on his shoulders.

April 17: Social worker Jayne Kavanagh and support worker Angela Scarlett-Coppage visit Tustin’s home but report ‘no concerns’. 

April 20: A desperate Joanne Hughes tells Arthur’s school about the referral to social services she had made four days earlier. Michelle Hull, safeguarding lead at Dickens Heath Community Primary School, contacts social services but is told they have ‘no concerns’. 

April (specific date unclear): Thomas Hughes fobs off Arthur’s school in online messages, insisting he is ‘doing grand’. 

April (specific date unclear): Arthur’s uncle, Daniel Hughes, tries to alert police to Arthur’s bruises. 

May/June (specific date unclear): When John Dutton, Tustin’s stepfather, says he made an anonymous call to social services.

June 8: Arthur’s school re-opened but Hughes did not send him back. He claimed his son had a bad night’s sleep and would send him back the next day. 

Arthur would never return to school.  

June 12-15: Arthur spent more than 35 hours in isolation in the hallway.

On Friday Arthur was made to stand in hall for 14 hours, 19 minutes, as Tustin ate McDonald’s with her son in the living room.

On Saturday Arthur was made to stand in the hall for 11 hours and 49 minutes. 

In the video, Hughes can be seen slapping him around the head while Tustin grabbed him by the scruff of the neck as she marches him from the kitchen to the hallway.

The couple spent time in their garden hot tub and eating ice creams.

On Sunday Arthur was in the hallway for 10 hours and 54 minutes and made to wear a fleece onesie.

June 15: Tustin is seen waking Arthur up at 7.06am by ripping his bedding from underneath him.  

Horrific final video shows an emaciated Arthur struggling to pick up a duvet from the living room floor where he had been forced to sleep.  

June 16: Arthur suffered an ‘unsurvivable injury’ caused by Tustin repeatedly banging his head on a hard surface. 

June 17: Arthur’s life support was switched off and he died in hospital.  

July 2, 2021:  Labinjo-Halcrow is jailed for 11 years for killing Mr Cunningham. 

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The little boy who never stood a chance: How authorities missed FOUR opportunities to save Arthur, ignored pleas from his family and even threatened them with ARREST under Covid rules 

Relatives of tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes yesterday hit out at the failings of social workers and police who missed a raft of opportunities to save the six-year-old’s life.

His maternal grandmother Madeleine Halcrow told MailOnline: ‘Arthur was let down by social services and the West Midlands Police. There was an opportunity to save him and it wasn’t taken.’

The nurse spoke out as Arthur’s stepmother, Emma Tustin, 32, was found guilty of murder for beating him to death, while his father Thomas Hughes, 29, was convicted of manslaughter. 

They were both found guilty of numerous counts of child cruelty for subjecting him to systematic abuse which matched the ‘medical definition of child torture’, including being deprived of food, made to stand for 14 hours a day and poisoned with salt.

The boy’s family squarely blame Solihull Council’s children’s services, which failed to grasp a series of chances to stop Arthur’s ‘unimaginable’ torture before he was murdered with 130 separate injuries.

Arthur’s grandmother, Joanne Hughes, told the trial how she felt there was ‘no one else to go to’ after repeatedly raising her concerns with the authorities, while his uncle, Daniel, was even threatened with arrest over lockdown rules if he went back to the youngster’s house to check up on him.

The child moved into his father’s care after his mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 28, killed her new partner in February 2019. Hughes met mother-of-four Tustin online before the couple moved with Arthur into her home near Solihull in the West Midlands when the government declared a lockdown in March 2020.

Madeleine Halcrow said that Tustin was ‘obsessed’ about the idea Thomas would go back to Olivia, and that ‘the only way she could get Olivia out of her life was by getting rid of Arthur’.

Tustin, who had two of her children taken into care following a suicide attempt, repeatedly complained she could not cope with Arthur’s behaviour during lockdown and begged Hughes to let him return to his grandparents.

Arthur died on June 16, 2020 after suffering an ‘unsurvivable head injury’. These are the four key chances the authorities missed to avert the tragedy: 

  • ONE – Arthur’s grandmother, Joanne Hughes, called social services on April 16 to say she had seen the youngster covered in bruises. However, social workers failed to spot them during a visit to his home.
  • TWO – On April 20, Joanne also told Arthur’s school what she had seen. A member of staff called social services but was told the bruises had been caused by ‘play’.
  • THREE – Arthur’s uncle, Daniel Hughes, reports his concerns to police but is threatened with arrest if he tries to go back to the youngster’s home.
  • FOUR – John Dutton, Emma Tustin’s stepfather, makes an anonymous call to social services weeks before Arthur’s death.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was beaten to death following months of abuse. His trial hear how relatives repeatedly raised concerns with social services and police but were rebuffed

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was beaten to death following months of abuse. His trial hear how relatives repeatedly raised concerns with social services and police but were rebuffed

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was beaten to death following months of abuse. His trial hear how relatives repeatedly raised concerns with social services and police but were rebuffed 

MISSED CHANCE 1 – 

Grandmothers reports bruises to social services – but they fail to spot them during visit 

This image was taken by Arthur's grandmother Joanne Hughes as part of a desperate attempt to convince the authorities he was in danger

This image was taken by Arthur's grandmother Joanne Hughes as part of a desperate attempt to convince the authorities he was in danger

This image was taken by Arthur’s grandmother Joanne Hughes as part of a desperate attempt to convince the authorities he was in danger

Arthur’s paternal grandmother, Joanne Hughes, made a call to Solihull council’s emergency team on April 16 to report bruises on his shoulders.

She also told them Arthur had said the injuries were caused by Tustin, who ‘grabbed him to the face, called him names and pushed him and he bumped his head on the stairs’.

In response to her report, social worker Jayne Kavanagh and support worker Angela Scarlett-Coppage were dispatched to the family home in Shirley, Solihull, the following day.

Mrs Kavanagh told jurors she arrived to find Arthur playing outside and he appeared ‘clean’, ‘very happy’ and ‘boisterous’. She was unable to spot any bruising other than a ‘faint yellow’ mark in the middle of his back. 

After speaking Tustin and Hughes, she and Ms Scarlett-Coppage formed the view that Arthur was being cared for in a ‘happy household’ who were ‘all getting along’.

They reported ‘no safeguarding concerns’ and the case was not referred for a full social services assessment. Instead they offered to put a support worker in touch under the Early Help scheme, but no work took place.

Mrs Kavanagh said she was left ‘in shock’ when she eventually saw the photo of dark bruises on Arthur’s shoulder blades. 

Asked in court if she could explain why she was unable to spot bruises which had been noticeable a day earlier, she replied: ‘No’.

Revealed: How twisted stepmother’s overdose forced trial to be halted  

By James Fielding for MailOnline 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s stepmother’s trial was halted for several days after she took an overdose and was rushed to hospital.

Emma Tustin, 32, swallowed several painkillers she had apparently hidden in her bra. She was taken from her cell at Coventry Crown Court last Monday afternoon and taken to hospital, where she remained until last Thursday.

Tustin and ex-boyfriend Thomas Hughes, 29, inflicted a ‘cruel and systematic’ campaign of cruelty’ against Arthur, which included forcing him to stand for up to 14-hours a day alone, depriving him of food and water and poisoning him with salt.

A source told MailOnline: ‘The case was held up for three days because Tustin was rushed to hospital after overdosing on pills. She swallowed a load of painkillers in one of the court cells during a lunch break last Monday. She’d earlier spent the morning in the dock alongside her co-accused as he gave evidence.

‘She confessed to a member of her legal team about what she had done and an ambulance had to be called to take her to hospital. She was still conscious when she left the cell at Coventry Crown Court in the ambulance. It appears as though she may have been given pills by the prison over a number of days but rather than take them she’d been saving them up and hid them in her bra.’ 

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She added: ‘I was shocked and in disbelief that these photos could have been taken the day before and my colleague and I hadn’t seen anything the day afterwards.’  

Arthur’s maternal grandmother Madeleine Halcrow, said Joanne Hughes and her husband, Chris, visited her at her home in Birmingham in April to show her the photo of Arthur’s bruises and ask if she knew how Arthur had got them. 

She told MailOnline: ‘I had no idea whatsoever because I’d been blocked from having any contact with Arthur by Thomas and I hadn’t seen him since October 21, 2019.

‘I immediately called Solihull social services but they told me that they’d already been to see Arthur and they didn’t have any issues.

‘I sent them the photographs of his back and then called the police who said they’d also gone to the house and like social services they had no worries as the property was ”immaculate”.

‘My response was to say ”so an immaculate house doesn’t constitute child abuse then?” As far as I’m aware there were no more visits after that.

‘Both the police and social services were lied to by Thomas and Emma who told them that the bruise was from ‘boisterous play’. I know it’s difficult because there hadn’t been previous contact with Arthur but nothing was done when it should have been.’

The nurse added: ‘The whole social services department failed Arthur. They must have seen how poorly Arthur was, how fatigued and weak he was. He died just eight weeks later.’ 

Solihull’s £122,294 Director of Children’s Services at the time, Louise Rees, 60, left in August before the trial began. Rees’ LinkedIn profile boasts that she is now ‘retired and loving it’.

Arthur had been on social services’ radar for three years. In 2018 he was referred to them twice over concerns about his mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, an alcoholic and drug user who was eventually jailed for stabbing to death her lover.  

 

Solihull's £122,294 Director of Children's Services at the time of Arthur's death, Louise Rees

Solihull's £122,294 Director of Children's Services at the time of Arthur's death, Louise Rees

Ms Rees

Ms Rees

Solihull’s £122,294 Director of Children’s Services at the time of Arthur’s death, Louise Rees, 60, (pictured) left in August before the trial began

MISSED CHANCE 2 –  

Worried teacher calls social services about bruises – but is told they were caused by ‘play’ 

‘He’s doing grand’: How evil father fobbed off concerned school workers checking up on Arthur over lockdown

Staff at Dickens Heath primary school contacted Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes for welfare checks when it shut during the first Covid lockdown in April 2020. 

In response, Thomas painted an idyllic picture of his son’s life – a jarring contrast to the twisted abuse he was actually suffering during this time. 

Replying to messages sent on the school’s messaging platform, Hughes told staff his son had been ‘enjoying the garden’ and ‘decorating his bedroom’.

In one exchange, he wrote: ‘Arthur is plodding along, enjoying the sunshine and messing about the garden.

‘We might have a barbecue at the weekend. He just wants to see his friends now as he misses them a bit. Thank you for checking in.’

The school replied: ‘Keep enjoying the great outdoors, Arthur. We miss you too but we’ll all be back together soon when it is safe. Enjoy the weekend. ‘

In another message, Hughes added: ‘Arthur has been doing grand. He’s found it quite challenging not being at school and not having that routine but we’ve been decorating his bedroom.

‘He’s done little bits of schoolwork and doing PE with Joe [Wicks]. Take care and stay safe.’ 

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On April 20, a desperate Joanne Hughes told Arthur’s school about the referral to social services she had made four days earlier. 

Michelle Hull, safeguarding lead at Dickens Heath Community Primary School, then contacted social services to alert them to Joanne’s report but was told they had ‘no concerns’. 

Ms Hull told jurors: ‘[Mrs Hughes] phoned to make us aware she had concerns about Arthur and made a MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) referral.

‘She said that she had seen Arthur and he had bruises on, I think, it was his back. She said she had seen bruises.’

Ms Hull said Arthur’s grandmother had also voiced concerns about Tustin’s ‘mental health’ and said that she was a ‘coercive’ partner.

She added: ‘She was concerned the relationship wasn’t a positive one.

‘She was worried about Thomas and Arthur because the partner that he had – she was worried about her mental health. She felt his partner, Emma, was coercive.’

Jonas Hankin QC, prosecuting, asked Ms Hull whether social services had explained to her the nature of the checks they carried out on Arthur while visiting him at home.  

‘What, if any, information were you given about the nature of the checks that social services said had been performed?’ the barrister asked. 

Ms Hull replied: ‘They said they’d seen Arthur and that the injuries were from boisterous play.

‘That the family relationship seemed OK. And they had no concerns.’

Asked if the support worker had given further detail about the injuries she had seen, Ms Hull said: ‘I think she referred to the bruises on the back.’

Ms Hull said the social worker ‘didn’t have any concerns about parenting’ by Tustin.

The teacher added that social services told her she ‘wasn’t allowed to share any information with Arthur’s grandmother because (parental) consent hadn’t been given’.

Instead, Ms Hull volunteered for the school ‘to stay involved and just do check-ins with the family’, which Mr Hughes consented to.

Speaking after the trial, Arthur's grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (pic) read a tribute on behalf of her daughter Olivia Labinjo Hughes, who is Arthur's biological mum. She is currently serving a 11-year sentence for killing her partner

Speaking after the trial, Arthur's grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (pic) read a tribute on behalf of her daughter Olivia Labinjo Hughes, who is Arthur's biological mum. She is currently serving a 11-year sentence for killing her partner

Speaking after the trial, Arthur’s grandmother Madeleine Halcrow (pic) read a tribute on behalf of her daughter Olivia Labinjo Hughes, who is Arthur’s biological mum. She is currently serving a 11-year sentence for killing her partner

Asked why she had made that offer, Ms Hull said: ‘Because they were a family we had taken in and nurtured and that’s very much how our school works.’ 

Dickens Heath had previously raised concerns about Arthur’s mental state. 

He started at the school in February 2019. At the time he had been told that his mother, on remand for killing her boyfriend, had left to join the army.

By October 2019, his teacher Aileen Carabine said that he had learned that his mother was in prison and had become more ‘reserved and anxious’. She said he had become ‘fixated’ with his father disappearing from his life, being taken away from his father and his father killing him.

Hughes and his mother had a meeting with both the school and a paediatrician in November 2019 at which they spoke of their concerns for how vulnerable Arthur was, how he was clingy, babyish and obsessed with cuddly toys. 

They were told by both the school and the medic that these were normal symptoms for a child in Arthur’s situation and they should respond with love and understanding and not to punish him or take away his toys.

The school made a referral to mental health services and in March 2020 Arthur met with Kerry Forsyth-Benson, a CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) practitioner. 

MISSED CHANCE 3 –  

Youngster’s uncle tells police about his injuries – only for officer to threaten HIM with arrest over Covid rules if he goes to check on nephew 

Arthur’s uncle, Daniel Hughes, said he also had photos of the youngster’s bruises and showed them to police, but never heard anything back. 

Daniel said he and other relatives tried to visit Arthur at home to confront Tustin and Hughes. 

After the attempted visit, he contacted West Midlands Police to report his concerns, but instead of taking any action an officer threatened him with arrest for breaking Covid rules if he tried to visit the house again.  

The Solihull home where Arthur was abused, which his uncle, Daniel Hughes, tried to visit with other relatives to confront Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes about what they were doing to him

The Solihull home where Arthur was abused, which his uncle, Daniel Hughes, tried to visit with other relatives to confront Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes about what they were doing to him

The Solihull home where Arthur was abused, which his uncle, Daniel Hughes, tried to visit with other relatives to confront Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes about what they were doing to him  

Daniel told jurors that a reluctant police worker eventually agreed to receive photos of the child’s bruises but he never heard anything back.  

He said: ‘I went on the police webchat to enquire as to what I could do for the safety of my nephew.

‘I had a webchat with an operative. He gave me a case number and within ten minutes a private number called me.

‘A police officer identified himself, who said he had been around to the address and spoke with Tustin and Tom [Thomas Hughes]. We were advised if we were to return to the address we would be arrested.

‘I said I had photos of Arthur’s injuries and I didn’t believe that if he had seen those injuries, he would be happy that he was okay. He reluctantly received the photos and said he would speak to his sergeant and get back to me. He never did.’

Daniel did not reveal the specific date of the call and it is not clear who took the photos. 

After Arthur’s death, a neighbour wrote on Facebook claiming they had also informed police he was being abused. 

They wrote: ‘I rang the police! I rang child services! They did nothing and as a result the toddler has died. Solihull child services make me feel sick.’ 

Besides the failings of social services, West Midlands Police have been investigated over their handling of the case by the Independent Office for Police Conduct, who are now due to release their findings. 

MISSED CHANCE 4 – 

‘He was in danger’: Anonymous call to social services by Tustin’s stepfather weeks before tragic boy’s murder 

John Dutton, Tustin’s stepfather, told jurors he made a call to social services just weeks before Arthur collapsed with fatal brain injuries on June 16, 2020. 

Asked why he made the referral – which he chose to keep anonymous – Mr Dutton said: ‘I thought he was in danger.’

Mr Dutton said Hughes ‘dished out the discipline’ on visits to his home and admitted slashing Arthur’s beloved Liverpool and Birmingham City football shirts.

Days before his death: Arthur attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in home video footage shown to Coventry Crown Court

Days before his death: Arthur attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in home video footage shown to Coventry Crown Court

Days before his death: Arthur attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in home video footage shown to Coventry Crown Court

He also said that during one visit during the first Covid lockdown, Hughes confessed how he had ‘gone to town’ on the youngster.

Mr Dutton said: ‘He told us that he had gone to town on him and when he had done it he went up to the shower and cried his eyes out.’

Asked by prosecutor Jonas Hankin, QC, what Mr Dutton took that to mean, he sobbed: ‘Belt the life out of him.’ He added: ‘I was just shocked. He didn’t seem the type.’

Mr Dutton told the court that after the call, he stopped allowing Arthur into his house because his wife was ‘distressed’ at how he was being treated.

He said Arthur was ordered to sit at a table and face the wall ‘for hours’ like ‘a zombie’ whenever he was brought over to their home.

Revealed: Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ real mother was jailed for 11 years after stabbing her lover to death in frenzied drunken rage – leaving the little boy at the mercy of his father and his evil girlfriend 

By Ross Slater and Nick Craven for MailOnline  

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s biological mother was sentenced to 11 years in jail for stabbing her lover to death – leaving the tragic six-year-old at the mercy of his evil father and stepmother. 

Full details of Arthur’s horrific childhood, raised by violent alcoholic Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, were revealed during the harrowing nine-week murder trial of Thomas Hughes, 29, and his 32-year-old girlfriend Emma Tustin.

Arthur was pushed into his father’s custody in February 2019 after Labinjo-Halcrow killed her partner Gary Cunningham, 29, by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage.

Hughes met mother-of-four Tustin online and the couple moved with Arthur into her home near Solihull in the West Midlands when the government declared a nationwide lockdown in March 2020.

Madeleine Halcrow said that Tustin was ‘obsessed’ about the idea Thomas would go back to Olivia, and that ‘the only way she could get Olivia out of her life was by getting rid of Arthur’. 

Tustin, who had two of her children taken into care following a suicide attempt, repeatedly complained she could not cope with Arthur’s behaviour during the period of confinement and begged Hughes to let him return to his grandparents. 

Arthur's biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29

Arthur's biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29

She killed her partner Gary Cunningham by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019

She killed her partner Gary Cunningham by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019

Arthur’s biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, (left) killed her partner Gary Cunningham (right) by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019

From Arthur’s last desperate hours: Father and stepmother tortured and tormented little boy, 6, to his dying day… as harrowing home video hears frail child’s final desperate whimpers of ‘no one loves me’ 

Arthur’s harrowing last recorded moments show him struggling to pick up his duvet from the floor where he was forced to sleep for days on end – just hours before he was savagely murdered by his stepmother.

The heart-wrenching clip, captured on video, shows an emaciated Arthur, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimacing in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and a special Avengers pillow, before screaming ‘no one loves me’.

The heart-wrenching clip shows an emaciated Arthur, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimace in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and pillow

The heart-wrenching clip shows an emaciated Arthur, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimace in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and pillow

The heart-wrenching clip shows an emaciated Arthur, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimace in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and pillow

He is seen struggling to stand before slumping to the floor of the living room. He cries ‘no one loves me’ four times as he struggles to walk to the other side of the room while appearing to be suffering from a limp.

It takes him more than two whole minutes to be able to stand up, pick up his duvet and walk the distance of about two yards to a door leading to another room. In audio clips released alongside the video by West Midlands Police, played to the court, Arthur is also heard saying ‘no one is going to feed me’ seven times in 44 seconds.  

The tragic boy can be heard crying 'nobody loves me' as he is seen barely able to walk across the room

The tragic boy can be heard crying 'nobody loves me' as he is seen barely able to walk across the room

The tragic boy can be heard crying ‘nobody loves me’ as he is seen barely able to walk across the room

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Even before his death, Arthur had witnessed numerous scenes of domestic violence. On one occasion Labinjo-Halcrow had stabbed Mr Cunningham while Arthur was present.

Arthur also witnessed terrible rows between his mother and his father Thomas Hughes and on one occasion ended up ‘cowering under the covers’ as they tore into one another.

Labinjo-Halcrow had been seeing Hughes and Mr Cunningham at the same time and Hughes was still having a sexual relationship with her up until the point that she killed Mr Cunningham.

They’d had a furious row on February 16 about her sleeping with Mr Cunningham and ended up physically wrestling over Arthur as Hughes took him away to his parents’ house.

Labinjo-Halcrow was originally convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and jailed for 18 years at Birmingham Crown Court.

In August last year the conviction was overturned by The Court of Appeal after judges ruled she may have been acting in self-defence.

But following a retrial at Birmingham Crown Court, jurors once again found her guilty of manslaughter in July 2021 and this time was sentenced to 11 years.

The court heard Labinjo-Halcrow had been Mr Cunningham’s on-and-off girlfriend.

At her original trial she claimed she had been the victim of sexual abuse, including rape, at the hands of her victim.

But Judge Simon Drew, QC dismissed those allegations and described her as ‘someone who could be bullying and manipulative and prone to lies’.

After his mother’s arrest, Arthur went to live with Hughes.

In July 2019, a doctor recorded Arthur as suffering from ‘high anxiety’.

In November 2019, Arthur was in such a state that Mrs Hughes and Thomas spoke to both his school, Dickens Heath Community Primary in Shirley, and paediatrician Dr Sarah Dixon about it.

Arthur was said to be: clingy, having nightmares, obsessed with murder, anxious, babyish behaviour, trust issues. All were said to be completely normal for a child in the circumstances. 

Arthur had also said he was ‘worried his Dad will kill him’. This was ‘not normal’.

The doctor told Hughes that he should love and cherish his son, care for him, not subject him to change or treat his poor behaviour as naughtiness.

Arthur had variously been told that his mother had ‘joined the army’ and been sent to jail but that she would soon be released.

The school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator Aileen Carabine, told the hearing that Arthur was becoming ‘fixated’ with his dad disappearing from his life, being taken away from his dad and his dad killing him. 

Ms Carabine said Arthur started at the school in February 2019, but in March that year he had no idea his mother was in prison.

The teacher said that by October 2019 Arthur had ‘deteriorated’, and had become more ‘reserved and anxious.’ ‘Not quite as smiley,’ she added.

The school told Hughes he should be honest with his son after Halcrow was jailed in September 2019.

Arthur with his father. The youngster died after his head was repeatedly smashed against a hard surface

Arthur with his father. The youngster died after his head was repeatedly smashed against a hard surface

Arthur with his father. The youngster died after his head was repeatedly smashed against a hard surface  

Two days after Arthur’s sixth birthday, on Jan 6, 2020, Hughes went to the doctor to say the school were concerned by his clinginess and his obsession with soft toys, Tustin’s barrister Mary Prior told the court.

She said teachers had said this was completely untrue.

On March 4, Arthur sobbed at school saying his father had taken away his favourite teddy. The school spoke to Hughes and told him this was wrong and above all not to discipline him.

Grandmother: Arthur’s body has still not been buried 16 months on due to family row 

Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, told MailOnline that her grandson’s body remains in the mortuary of Leicester Royal Infirmary, where the post-mortem was carried out 16-months ago, due to a legal dispute over who has the right to lay him to rest.

Her family want to bury him in a small quiet funeral in a churchyard in Birmingham while the Hughes family have a plot for him elsewhere and want to take charge of the service.

Ms Halcrow confirmed she had sought legal advice with a firm of solicitors and added: ‘I hope that we can reach some sort of agreement with the Hughes family – for Arthur’s sake.

‘But for the time being it doesn’t look that way and it’s looking increasingly likely the matter of will be able to lay him to rest will go to court.’

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On New Year’s Eve, Hughes had gone ‘toe-to-toe’ with his father and they were screaming at one another because Hughes’s parenting had been criticised.

This led to a breakdown of Hughes’ relationship with his family.

Arthur was said to be missing his mother but Hughes banned all contact and this prompted a meltdown on Mother’s Day.

Ms Prior said that Tustin repeatedly told Hughes that she could not cope and that either Arthur or both of them should return to his parents’ house.

She said that during lockdown Hughes spent his time in bed, or playing computer games or going on long shopping trips leaving Tustin to deal with all the children.

She quoted a text sent from him to Tustin, then pregnant, at 5pm on June 13: ‘I am naked on the bed waiting for you, all prepped and waiting for you to take my soul.’

Emma replies that he will be waiting a very long time.

At this stage he had started to deprive Arthur of food and water and the boy was screaming.

The ‘noise and the cruelty’ was not stopping him from becoming aroused, Ms Prior said.

During that heatwave, he would walk around eating ice creams in front of his starving child.

During May the school reached out to Hughes offering to have Arthur in school despite the lockdown.

He told them Arthur was really happy. When the school did re-open on June 8, he told them Arthur could not come in due to a headache.

She told the jury: ‘Read the messages with care, she’s regularly asking him ‘please come back’, ‘please help’, ‘I can’t cope’, ‘I’m crying’, ‘I’m broken’, ‘please take him back to his nan’s’. ‘She was saying again and again ‘what do you want me to do with him?’.’ Ms Prior says, in reply, Hughes told her to ‘end him’, ‘finish him’ and ‘take his jaw off’ but she did not do any of those things.

In one message, Hughes threatened to ‘take his jaw off his shoulders’ and told Tustin: ‘Just gag him or something. Tie some rope around his mouth with a sock in it or something.’

She pointed out that Hughes had told police ‘I couldn’t hit a woman or her kids so Arthur took the brunt of my frustrations’.

This included head-butting him, pressure pointing his neck, putting his foot on his stomach, and assaulting him over and over again.

She quoted Hughes as saying it was a ‘clash of egos’ and that his way of crushing his son’s ego was to do stuff like telling him he would take him to see his Nan and Granddad and then driving him around and telling him it would not happen. He also cut up the boy’s favourite football strip in front of him. 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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