‘Lenient’ sentences of ‘evil’ dad and stepmum who killed son, 6, to be reviewed

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The 'lenient' prison sentences given to the 'evil' father and stepmum who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes are to be referred to the Attorney General in a bid to see the pair's jail time extended.

Twisted Emma Tustin, 32, refused to appear in court yesterday to hear that she will serve a minimum of 29 years behind bars after being found guilty of murder.

Coventry Crown Court heard she left the youngster with an unsurvivable brain injury when she fatally assaulted him at her home in Solihull, west mids, on June 16, 2020. Tragically he died in hospital the next day.

The boy's "pitiless" dad, Thomas Hughes, 29, was found guilty of manslaughter after encouraging the killing. He was jailed for 21 years.

But Solihull MP Julian Knight has confirmed he will refer the sentences on Monday morning to the Attorney General for them to be considered under the unduly lenient scheme.

Mr Knight said today: “There’s a palpable sense of real loss and tragedy over this and also, frankly, a sense of anger, and questions over how this was allowed to happen, how these monsters were allowed to inflict this horrible torture on this young, defenceless boy.

“My view is very simple on this. We need to get to the bottom of how this happened and we need to ensure that those who have failed him are accountable.

“But also I think anyone reflecting on those sentences yesterday thinks that they were too lenient and my intention is to refer this to the unduly lenient sentencing scheme as soon as possible and I will be doing that on Monday morning.”

A horrific murder trial heard little Arthur was subjected to a wicked campaign of cruelty in his final tragic months by his own father Thomas Hughes and his girlfriend Emma Tustin as they were confined in her home during lockdown.

Arthur collapsed from catastrophic head injuries and was rushed to hospital on June 16 last year but he died at 1am the following morning despite the best efforts of medics.

The court heard that Tustin carried out the fatal assault while in the sole care of Arthur at her home, violently shaking him and repeatedly banging his head, likely against the hallway wall.

She then callously took a photograph of the unconscious youngster on her mobile phone, while he lay dying in her hall, then sending the image to Hughes.

Tustin then took 12 minutes to call 999, instead first ringing Hughes, before lying to medics and later police that Arthur “fell and banged his head”.

She claimed at trial he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence he was so starved he could barely stand.

Their trial was told Arthur was made to stand in isolation for up to 14 hours a day, was assaulted, deprived of food and water as well as poisoned with salt.

The court also heard how Tustin obsessively recorded more than 200 voice notes of Arthur during lockdown.

The voice notes were sent to Hughes when he was out of the home to 'report' his son's behaviour, including Arthur crying for his grandmother and uncle saying repeatedly 'no-one loves me' and 'no-one is going to feed me'.

In another, the fear-stricken boy yelled 'daddy's going to throw me out the window'.

But many were deemed to be so distressing that Judge Mark Wall dissuaded the prosecution from playing all of them to the jury.

Mr Justice Mark Wall QC told Tustin: "You wanted Hughes so he could provide for you and your own children, but did not want to be troubled by Arthur."

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