Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ granddad says warnings ‘ignored’ before ‘evil’ couple killed boy

Peter Halcrow said warnings were issued by the other grandparents of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes as well as social services before he was murdered by his step-mum Emma Tustin

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was poisoned, starved and beaten
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was poisoned, starved and beaten

Warnings about Arthur Labinjo-Hughes were ignored prior to his tragic death, his grandfather has said.

Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, was jailed for life at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, with a minimum term of 29 years, after being found guilty of the six-year-old’s murder.

His father, Thomas Hughes, 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

Peter Halcrow, Arthur’s maternal grandfather, said warnings were issued by the little boy’s other grandparents as well as social services.

He said the little boy had been “well loved and well looked after” by his paternal grandparents.

Mr Halcrow told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “They’re decent people and they were very concerned. And they issued warnings that were ignored, shall we say.”

The six-year-old was killed by his dad and step-mum



He added: “They (social services) must have a tick list to do, ‘house is clean, things are tidy, so we’ll not worry about it’.

“If alarm bells are ringing all around, even neighbour’s statements, surely there must be someone or some kind of body that can step in and stay right we’re taking that child out of that situation.

“If the father is not man enough himself to do that himself, then someone has to say this child is suffering and needs help and takes them out of the situation.”

He added: “I can’t understand why something wasn’t done about it.

“I don’t know who runs Solihull social services or who went round to the house, because they were called and they must have had a snapshot of the house, and they must have felt everything was fine.

Tustin and Hughes have been sent to prison



“There’s been phone calls made to West Midlands Police as well, which were not acted on. It’s a tough one, when you hear the kind of abuse the boy was going through.”

When asked about Arthur’s relationship with his mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, who was jailed for killing her boyfriend Gary Cunningham, Mr Halcrow said they were “bonded”.

“The pair of them, Arthur and her, were so happy,” he said.

“She was a great mother. She spoiled them rotten as mother’s do.”

The grandad added: “There was a whole life ahead of him.”

As for the couple responsible for his death, Mr Halcrow said they had committed a “heinous crime” by killing a “defenceless, innocent boy”.

He told the broadcaster: “I wouldn’t give them the time of day and I wouldn’t want them to see the light of day ever again.”

Tustin was convicted of murder and Hughes was found guilty of manslaughter


Helen Tipper / SWNS)

Arthur was left with an un-survivable brain injury while in the sole care of “evil” Tustin.

She was convicted of murder by assaulting defenceless Arthur in the hallway of her Cranmore Road home in Solihull, on June 16 2020.

Arthur, whose body was covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

This weekend Mr Halcrow said he was “shocked and mystified” as to how social workers had missed signs that Arthur was being abused.

He told The Sun: “They must never see the light of day again. No punishment could ever be enough for this pair.

“I have never favoured the death penalty because I know mistakes can be made by courts, but in my view they have forfeited their right to live.

Arthur with his maternal mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow



“They should certainly never leave prison as long as they live for such cruelty and inhumanity.”

Mr Halcrow, from Dunkeld, Perthshire, said that he felt physically sick while following the court case online, and added that he hadn’t realise how much his grandson had suffered until the case.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over this.”

On Sunday, the community gathered in Arthur’s home town of Solihull, West Midlands, for a balloon release in his memory.

Arthur’s gran Madeleine Halcrow wept as hundreds of balloons were released into the air.

Meanwhile, Ofsted will hold a separate inspection focusing on the safeguarding agencies in Solihull.

Arthur’s body currently remains in a mortuary because both families are allegedly not agreeing on who is organising the funeral.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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