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HomeUK NewsArthur Labinjo-Hughes: National investigation to be launched over six-year-old's murder

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: National investigation to be launched over six-year-old’s murder

There will be a national investigation into the murder of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

It comes as deputy prime minister Dominic Raab told Sky News: “The most vulnerable in our society need to have the maximum protection.”

The boy, from Solihull, West Midlands, was poisoned, starved and beaten by step-mother Emma Tustin, 32, and his father Thomas Hughes, 29, in a prolonged campaign of “evil abuse”.

An independent national review will identify the lessons to be learned from Arthur‘s death, in June last year, for the benefit of other children elsewhere in England.

The government has also commissioned an urgent inspection of social care, health, police and probation services in Solihull to whom Arthur was known, in an effective upgrading of an existing local review.

Tustin was sentenced to a minimum 29 years in prison for Arthur’s murder, while Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter after encouraging the killing of his son.

Arthur was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of Tustin, with the boy’s body also covered in 130 bruises.

Speaking to Sky News about the case, Mr Raab, who is also justice secretary and is a father of two young boys, said he “can’t begin to imagine how anyone could be that cruel”.

“We’ve had those sentences for the two parents, the Attorney General has made clear she wants to have them reviewed where we have a mechanism for doing so,” he told the Trevor Phillips On Sunday show.

“There will be a local safeguarding review which will look at 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 has 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.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who is due to make a House of Commons statement on Arthur’s case on Monday, said the government would “not rest until we have the answers we need”.

“We are determined to protect children from harm and where concerns are raised we will not hesitate to take urgent and robust action,” he added.

Mr Zahawi said he had asked Annie Hudson, the chair of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, to work with officials in Solihull to deliver the national review due to “the enormity of this case, the range of agencies involved and the potential for its implications to be felt nationally”.

The Sunday Times reported that the action being taken after Arthur’s death would be expected to consider whether to introduce safeguarding guidelines for at-risk children should there be future national lockdowns.

Mr Raab told Sky News there were “multi-dimensions” to cases of child cruelty.

“There’s the fact that the individuals responsible for any of this cruelty could be so callous,” he said.

“There is also the local authority response. I would say that I think the social workers on the front line do an incredible job.

“As part of the pandemic response, we’ve invested close to £5bn in giving local authorities the support they need.

“Because one of the things we know about lockdown, whilst lots of families enjoy having more time together, for those who are the victims of domestic abuse, it has been a vey serious time, some of those risks have been magnified.”

Mr Raab also pointed to his recent announcement of tougher punishments for those found guilty of child cruelty offences.

It followed a campaign for “Tony’s law” by the adoptive family of Tony Hudgell, who was left severely disabled after suffering abuse at the hands of his birth parents.

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