Arthur Labinjo-Hughes Should Have Been ‘Top Priority’ For Social Services But Was ‘Missed’ During COVID

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes Should Have Been ‘Top Priority’ For Social Services But Was ‘Missed’ During COVID

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes should have been a top priority for social services, but was ‘missed’ during the coronavirus lockdown, a child protection official said.

Solihull’s six-year-old was poisoned, starved and beaten by her stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, and father Thomas Hughes, 29, in a protracted campaign of “evil abuse”.

He suffered an insurmountable brain injury in June of last year, after being placed in the care of his father’s girlfriend, who was jailed for life on Friday. Hughes was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 21 years in prison.

It emerged during the couple’s trial that Arthur’s grandmother had photos of his bruises and had asked social services to visit him, but staff said they had “no concerns about protection” .

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were found guilty of abusing and killing Hughes’ six-year-old son

Wendy Thorogood, director of the association of child welfare professionals, told Times Radio that it “should” have been a priority for local services.

“You would expect them to actually watch her story, but unfortunately they’re continuing what they’re seeing right now,” she said.

“I would have expected any assessment to really take into account the photos of the grandmother, I would have expected common conversations and real conversations [with Arthur]… And it seems to have been missed. “

Learn more about Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur and his father moved in with Tustin at the start of the COVID lockdown in March of last year, Coventry Crown Court was told.

He did not return to the school when it reopened in early June.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with his natural mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow

Ms Thorogood added: ‘We have to remember it was on COVID so he was not having additional monitoring from school and education.

“He wasn’t on a child protection list, he wasn’t one of the kids you would have considered a priority. “

Former children’s minister Tim Loughton has said Arthur’s murder at the hands of his stepmother is expected to bring about an “urgent” change in social services.

He said “we” all have a “duty” to make sure other vulnerable children are not abandoned by social care in the same way Arthur, whose body was found to be covered with 130 bruises afterwards. his death.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was found covered in 130 bruises

“Funding for social services for children is lagging behind and social workers are overburdened and undervalued when in truth they should be revered as our fourth emergency department,” the Tory MP wrote in The Sun.

The Solihull Local Child Protection Partnership has launched an independent review following the court’s revelations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday ministers will leave “absolutely no effort” to establish what was wrong with the “appalling” case.

The social services visit in April 2020 was promoted after Arthur’s paternal grandmother Joanne Hughes called the emergency social services team after hours to report the bruises she had seen the boy’s back.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his father and stepmother.  Photo: West Midlands Police
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his father and stepmother. Photo: West Midlands Police

But despite the fact that social workers examined him and found a “light” yellow bruise, they agreed with Tustin and Hugues that it was a “happy household”.

In her victim impact statement, which she read in court before sentencing, Ms Hughes said Arthur, as a “happy, content and prosperous seven-year-old” would be “alive today. ‘hui’ if her son hadn’t met Tustin.

The high school teacher added: “It’s also clear that Arthur has been rejected by the same authorities that we as a society are made to believe are there to keep everyone safe. ”


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