'He must have had this sense of impending doom': Grandmother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes speaks out

Arthur knew he was in danger and would have felt a 'sense of impending doom', his grandmother has said. Video report by Ben Chapman.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' grandmother has shared how the six-year-old "must have had this sense of impending doom that something was going to happen to him," saying he knew he was in danger.

Speaking to ITV's Good Morning Britain, Madeleine Halcrow said her grandson was an "intuitive child" who knew his father was putting him at risk.

"For a child to say to his own dad 'I'm in danger with you daddy...you're going to kill me'. There's something wrong there," Ms Halcrow said as she spoke movingly about young Arthur.

"Arthur's very intuitive. He must have had this sense of impending doom that something was going to happen to him".

Six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died in June 2020. Credit: PA

Six-year-old Arthur, from Solihull, was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the care of his stepmother, Emma Tustin. Arthur, whose body was covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

Tustin was jailed for life on Friday after being convicted of murder, and will serve a minimum of 29 years.

Arthur's father, Thomas Hughes was given a 21 year sentence for manslaughter.

The pair showed "no remorse, no sympathy", Ms Halcrow said, as she branded them "depraved, sadistic, torturous, evil, calculating people".

She said the sentences given to Arthur's stepmother and father aren't long enough - with the attorney general set to review the terms.

'Life should mean life' for Hughes and Tustin

"Life should mean life", she said. "They took Arthur’s life, he’s not going to get his life back, he’s not going to have children of his own."

On Monday, Arthur's maternal grandfather, Peter Halcrow, said Tustin and Hughes "must never see the light of day again".

Ms Halcrow told presenters Susanna Reid and Martin Lewis (both visibly moved by the interview) that she had met with Arthur's paternal grandparents who had noticed bruises on the child.

Social services and the police were called, but Ms Halcrow said not enough action was taken.

An independent review is under way into the actions of the social workers involved in Arthur's particular case, while Ofsted is starting work on their investigation into services involved with child protection in Solihull more generally.

Arthur's paternal grandmother photographed the bruising on him in April 2020, two months before his death. Credit: PA

"I saw new bruises on top of old which tells me this has been going on," Ms Halcrow, who is a nurse, said.

"Seeing them I first imagined the pain Arthur would’ve been in receiving these bruises", she said, overwhelmed with emotion.

Ms Halcrow - who described her grandson as "the happiest child" - said "something is broken" with the system which should have ensured the safety of her grandson.

'Something is broken in this system and something needs fixing'

She said more should have been done by police and social services to recognise and act on the dangers Arthur faced, adding she feels anger towards the authorities.

"I am angry with the inter agencies because somewhere along the line communication hasn’t been passed along," she said - citing other case of child abuse, including Baby P.

After the interview, Susanna Reid - who said the story had "broken her" - asked justice secretary Dominic Raab about the prospects of the sentences for Tustin and Hughes being extended.

Mr Raab said he finds the situation "piercingly heartbreaking" as a father himself and added he fully supports the attorney general's decision to review the sentences.

"I want the maximum protections and the highest sentences to protect the most vulnerable," he said.