The education secretary has announced a national inquiry into the case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in order to protect other children from similar terrible crimes. Nadhim Zahawi said: “We will not rest until we have the answers we need.”
Six-year-old Arthur was tortured and killed by his father and step-mother, with the fatal blows being given by Emma Tustin, who was jailed for 29 years for his murder. Thomas Hughes received 21 years for manslaughter and child cruelty. The events happened after local social services had found “no safeguarding concerns” following an investigation into the couple.
The education secretary announced “a single, national review of Arthur’s death to identify where we must learn from this terrible case”. This is a step up from the existing local review that was launched shortly after Arthur’s death in June 2020. It will run alongside a review into the jail terms of the couple that the Attorney General office is conducting to assess if their sentences are too low.
The safeguarding agencies in Solihull, the town where Arthur Labinjo-Hughes lived, are to be looked into by inspectors from social care, police and probation, at the request of the education secretary. He said: “Arthur’s murder has shocked and appalled the nation. I am deeply distressed by this awful case and the senseless pain inflicted on this poor boy, who has been robbed of the chance to live his life.”
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he believed the prison sentences given to Arthur’s killers were too lenient. He said: “We’ve announced we are going to raise the sentences for child cruelty and in relation to baby Arthur the attorney has already said that she’s minded to submit an application for a review of the sentence.”
The NSPCC welcomed the review and said “no stone should be left unturned”.
“This must be a watershed moment in which we ask ourselves difficult questions about what we can all do, nationally, locally and in our own communities, to keep children safe,” the charity said.
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