Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' cousin Bernie Dixon pays tribute to six-year-old who was murdered

The cousin of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has paid tribute to the six-year-old ahead of the National Review into his death. 

Bernie Dixon has opened up to ITV News Central about Arthur's life and how his mum Olivia stayed in touch with her little boy regularly.

Arthur's case shocked the nation in 2021 after a harrowing nine-week trial revealed he was subjected to a horrific campaign of abuse at the hands of his dad Thomas Hughes and his partner Emma Tustin.

The six-year-old was murdered by his dad's partner at her home in Shirley in June 2020.

Tustin was jailed for a minimum of 29 years for his murder, while Hughes was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

"Arthur was just a lovely, gentle child "

Ms Dixon said: "Arthur was a lovely child. He was very gentle, very intelligent, very easy to please.

"He loved reading, learning new things. He loved his mum. He loved his grandma. He loved his uncle. Being in London, I didn't see him as often as I would have done.

"He did come to London a few times to stay at my aunt's, for family gatherings, for weddings and funerals, different events."

Ms Dixon adds: "We'd spend time with him there when he used to come with [his grandma] Madeleine and [his mum] Olivia. 

"He was just a lovely boy. I can't recall any time that he was naughty or any time that he showed any kind of adverse behaviour.

"He was just a lovely, gentle child."

Arthur’s mum used to send letters to her son with packets of sweets in it 

Painting a picture of how Arthur’s mum Olivia interacted with her son from prison, Ms Dixon told ITV News Central she would send him sweets with hand-written notes. 

"Olivia used to send letters to Arthur every week with a packet of Squishies in the letter, and Thomas was keeping them and not given them to Arthur. 

"And he actually told Olivia that he wasn't going to physically give them to Arthur anymore,” Ms Dixon added. 

"The whole family has been devastated"

Arthur’s cousin explained how the death of the youngster has affected the family. 

She told ITV News Central: “Everyone's been devastated. Everyone's been trying to best support Madeline and Olivia as much as they can. 

"For me, I had other personal reasons as to why I was so affected, because I had an incident myself as a child, and I couldn't believe that it's been x-amount of years, and we'd lost a very important person in our family to the same sort of injuries."

"It was frustrating, as much as heartbreaking."

Ms Dixon said: “And I just felt just devastated because there's no way of fixing this. 

"And obviously in the past couple months there have been a number of different court cases and we've had one review and you're about to have another into it."

"I hope they're honest and I think the system really needs to be looked"

When asked how she felt about the upcoming National Review, Ms Dixon said the horrors around child care "can't continue"

She said: "I hope they're honest. I hope they tell the truth about what went wrong and how they failed after. 

"And not only Arthur but all the other children in the process. We've lost lots of children, too many children.

"And it can't continue.

"I believe there are going to be lots of errors, which is taking me back to saying I hope they're honest and I think the system really needs to be looked at because both those children, along with many others that we lost recently have been drastically failed. 

"People have tried to raise alarms and it's not listened to and there's no action taken."