Couzens loses appeal to whole life order while Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' killer has sentence increased

Wayne Couzens was a serving Metropolitan Police officer when he killed Sarah Everard. Credit: PA

Former police officer Wayne Couzens, who is serving a whole-life term for the murder of Sarah Everard, has lost a Court of Appeal bid to reduce his sentence, while Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' killer father has had his sentence increased.

Lawyers representing Couzens, the ex-Metropolitan Police officer who killed Ms Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive in March 2021, argued his whole-life term was excessive.

However, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett said the sentencing judge was entitled to impose a whole life order due to the facts of Couzens’ case, with the crime being so exceptional.

Sarah Everard was killed by Couzens in March 2021. Credit: Family/PA

In May, senior judges heard challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five convicted killers.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, were among those who had their sentences reviewed.

On Friday, Thomas Hughes, Arthur's father, had his sentence for manslaughter increased from 21 years to 24 years in prison.

Lord Burnett said: “The manslaughter bristled with aggravating features including as grave a breach of trust as can be imagined in respect of a small boy who was especially vulnerable, not least as a result of Hughes’ own conduct.

"He lied to Arthur’s school to keep him at home to protect both himself and Tustin.” “Without the cruelty offences the manslaughter deserved a sentence of 18 years or more. The judge’s view was that the offence fell just short of murder and, as we have said, the risk of death, given the preceding conduct, was real. “In our view the appropriate sentence is one of 24 years’ imprisonment to take account of all the offending.” The judges, however, refused to change Tustin’s sentence, finding she should not be given a whole life order and that her current sentence was not unduly lenient.

Emma Tustin (left) and her partner Thomas Hughes were found guilty of killing Arthur Labinjo-Hughes Credit: West Midlands Police

Double killer Ian Stewart, who murdered his first wife six years before he went on to murder his fiancee, successfully appealed against a whole-life order.

Lord Burnett and the four other judges said Stewart was “not one of the rare cases” where a whole life order should be imposed, reducing his sentence to life with a 35-year minimum term.

Judges also reviewed the sentence of Jordan Monaghan, who was handed a minimum term of 40 years at Preston Crown Court after he murdered two of his children and his new partner.

They found that while a whole life order should not be imposed, the sentence should be increased to life with a minimum term of 48 years.

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Wayne Couzens

Sarah Everard had been walking home after visiting a friend in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3, 2021, when she was approached by Couzens. During the sentencing, it emerged Couzens kidnapped the 33-year-old by using Covid lockdown rules to make a false arrest with his warrant card, before going on to rape and murder her.

He had been planning for at least a month before abducting Ms Everard.

After the sentencing, Ms Everard’s devastated family said that, while nothing could bring her back, knowing Couzens “will be imprisoned forever brings some relief”.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes was sentenced to 21 years for the manslaughter of his son and his partner Emma Tustin was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years in December last year for murder.Tustin and Hughes were convicted for killing the youngster, who was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the care of Tustin.The six-year-old, from Solihull, West Midlands, was poisoned, starved and beaten by Tustin, 32, and Hughes, 29, in a prolonged campaign of abuse.

Tustin claimed Arthur’s fatal head injury must have been self-inflicted, possibly caused by him throwing himself down the staircase in her hallway, and describing how she heard a "bang" and a "crack".

She told the 999 call handler Arthur fell and banged his head and then while he was on the floor he banged his head another five times. 

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

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart killed 51-year-old children’s author Helen Bailey in 2016 and was found guilty of her murder in 2017.

After this conviction, police investigated the 2010 death of Stewart’s wife, Diane Stewart, 47, and in February he was found guilty of her murder.

Amjad Malik QC, for Stewart, argued that the whole-life order he was given for the murder of his first wife was not justified in the circumstances of the case.

Ian Stewart, centre, killed his wife Diane, left, and then his fiancee Helen Bailey, right. Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

Jordan Monaghan

Last year, Jordan Monaghan, from Blackburn, was convicted of killing two of his children and his new girlfriend with a drugs overdose six years later.

The Court of Appeal previously heard that between January 2013 and October 2016 he murdered three-week-old Ruby and 21-month-old Logan before murdering Evie Adams.

The construction worker smothered his 24-day old daughter, Ruby, on New Year’s Day 2013 as she slept, while his partner and the child’s mother, was asleep upstairs.

Eight months later he took his 21-month-old son Logan to a public swimming pool and, while alone in a changing room cubicle, also murdered the child by smothering.

In October 2019, he murdered his new partner Evie Adams, 23, by giving her a cocktail of deadly prescription drugs including tramadol and diazepam that he had bought illegally on the black market.

Monaghan, from Blackburn, had denied all the charges at Preston Crown Court, but was convicted following a ten-week trial.