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Government announce new national inquiry into Arthur murder

Dominic Raab has announced that there will be government inquiry into the state of social services after the killing of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

The Secretary of State for Justice said he wants to see “what lessons further we can learn” after Arthur’s murder and months of systematic abuse from father Thomas Hughes and stepmother Emma Tustin.

Tustin, 32, was jailed for life at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, with a minimum term of 29 years, after being found guilty of his murder, while Hughes, 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

Read more: Boss of children’s services when Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murdered previously led ‘inadequate’ department

Six-year-old Arthur died in June 2020 after being subjected to months of cruelty and abuse at their hands.

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

Social workers went to Tustin’s Shirley home 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, reports The Mirror.

Government announce new national inquiry into Arthur murder
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. Photo credit should read: Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards/PA Wire
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.

BrumWish 2021 aims to get thousands of Christmas gifts to young children in need across our city – the homeless, the vulnerable, kids in care and kids who have little.

This year’s appeal is bigger and better than ever – because we have teamed up with our partners at #Toys4Birmingham, including Thrive Together Birmingham, the Birmingham Playcare Network, the Edgbaston Foundation and Birmingham Forward Steps.

Also involved are Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Barnardo’s, Spurgeon’s children’s charity, the Springfield project in Sparkhill, St Paul’s Community Development Trust and Your Local Pantry, which runs food hubs in 12 locations across Birmingham and the Black Country.

You can buy a gift from the #Brumwish Amazon Wishlist here.

Or you can collect and drop off donations of new and nearly new toys and gifts to special donation days at Edgbaston Stadium, B5 7QU, on Saturday November 27, Friday December 3 and Saturday December 4, from 11am to 3pm, where volunteers will be waiting to see you.

Brand new or nearly new, unwrapped gifts, books and toys for all ages will be accepted.

You can also donate cash, which will go into a fund held by a charity partner to use to plug gaps or buy specialist toys for children with additional needs. This is the link to make a donation.

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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