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Inquiry into social services launched following murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

A government inquiry into the state of social services across the UK has been launched following the brutal killing of tot Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, stated that he is keen to see “what lessons further we can learn” after little Arthur, six, endured a horrific campaign of abuse from his father Thomas Hughes and stepmother, Emma Tustin.

Birmingham Live reports that Tustin, aged 32, was sentenced to life behind bars at Coventry Crown Court on December 3, with a minimum term of 29 years, after being found guilty of his murder, while Hughes, aged 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

Arthur tragically died in June 2020 after being subjected to months of cruelty from those who were supposed to protect him.

Arthur’s paternal grandmother and uncle had raised the alarm that he was being abused after discovering bruises on his body.

Social workers went to Tustin’s home in Solihull two months before his death and concluded that they had “no safeguarding concerns”.

Flowers left for Arthur at the Solihull home where he was murdered

Arthur’s family had also alerted the police.

The Sunday Times reports that the new enquiry will examine ‘how social services and the local authorities liaise’.

It will involve police, schools and probation watchdogs – and will consider what should be put in place to help protect at-risk youngsters in the event of future national lockdowns.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with his killers - father Thomas Hughes and Thomas' partner Emma Tustin
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with his killers – father Thomas Hughes and Thomas’ partner Emma Tustin

Mr Raab’s announcement comes days after he introduced Tony’s Law – which will see child abusers in England and Wales face life in jail under tougher sentencing plans

The campaign for Tony Law’s was spearheaded by the adoptive family of seven-year-old Tony Hudgell, a Pride of Britain winner who had both legs amputated following abuse. At the time Mr Raab said: “The justice system is there to protect the vulnerable, and no-one is more vulnerable than a young child.”

The new inquiry will want to ensure that children at risk are identified and protected as soon as possible – before Tony’s Law has to come into play – and goes much wider than a local review launched by Solihull Council.

Six-year-old Tony Hudgell with his Pride of Britain award. The youngster's family have been campaigning for tougher sentences for child abuse after he lost his legs due the abuse he suffered at the hands of his birth parents
Six-year-old Tony Hudgell with his Pride of Britain award. The youngster’s family have been campaigning for tougher sentences for child abuse after he lost his legs due the abuse he suffered at the hands of his birth parents

It also comes after the news that the jail terms of Arthur’s killers will be reviewed to see if they are too lenient.

Speaking on Sky News about his new enquiry Mr Raab explained: “As a father of young boys myself, let alone as Justice Secretary, I can’t begin to imagine how anyone could be that cruel.

“We’ve had those sentences for the two parents, the Attorney General’s made clear she wants to have them reviewed, where we have a mechanism for doing so.

Paula Hudgell, the adoptive mother of Tony Hudgell –began the campaign for Tony’s Law due to the short sentences passed down to his abusers.

Tony’s birth parents Jody Simpson and Tony Smith were jailed for 10 years in 2018.

In his Sky News interview Mr Raab added: “There will be a local safeguarding review, which will look a the local authority’s actions, whether any lessons could have been picked up earlier, whether any warning flags could have been put up earlier.

“And the Prime Minister’s made clear as well as that, we want to see how social services and the local authorities liaise with the criminal justice agencies and what lessons further we can learn.”

Speaking on Friday the Prime Minister vowed to leave “absolutely no stone unturned” to establish what went wrong.

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