Cousin of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes says young boy was let down 'by all services involved'

"I am pleased about the new hub they are intending to bring all the services together but it worries me how long this is going to take to implement" Arthur's cousin tells ITV News Central

The cousin of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes says social service didn't take reports made about the youngster seriously.

The six-year-old was subjected to a horrific campaign of abuse at the hands of his dad Thomas Hughes and his partner Emma Tustin. He 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.

An independent review has now been published which highlights a need for a "clearer and sharper focus" on protecting children from significant harm.

Arthur's cousin Bernie Dixon spoke to ITV Central and feels he was let down "by all services involved".

She said: "Social Services didn't take the reports that were made seriously, they didn't follow it up properly. They didn't put any kind of special measures in.

Ms Dixon adds: "There was a lot going on for Arthur separate to the incident that happened and I believe he was truly let down, truly let down by all services involved."

Professionals had only a limited understanding of what daily life was like for Arthur, the report says. Credit: West Midlands Police

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes from Solihull was just six years old when he died after suffering horrific abuse at the hands of his father and his father's partner.

The six-year-old's trial had been "without doubt one of the most distressing and disturbing cases I have had to deal with", Justice Mark Wall QC said last year.

Arthur died after sustaining an "unsurvivable brain injury" on June 16, 2020 while he was with his dad's partner's Tustin in her home in Cranmore Road, SolihullWest Midlands

The schoolboy died in hospital the next day.

Lewis Warner reports on how the community are remembering Arthur and the work of Arthur's Angels

Ms Dixon also paid tribute to Arthur describing him as: "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."

Earlier this month, a barrister said the murderer of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes should be considered for a whole-life order.

That would mean Emma Tustin would spend the rest of her days in jail, without the opportunity for parole.

The cases of Arthur's father Thomas Hughes, and his partner Emma Tustin, are being reviewed by judges at the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, to ensure their sentences for his abuse and murder are long enough.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died at the hands of his father and stepmother after years of cruelty Credit: Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow/PA

In it Nick Page, CEO of the council, said now is not the time for blame.

He said: "Arthur's brutal murder has devastated our community and there isn't any one of us that's not been horrified by this awful crime committed by the very people who should have protected and nurtured this little lad.

"Over the last few months we've had a group of national experts shine a light on what we have been doing in Solihull and understanding how we need to get better.

"And they have given us some really important areas to sort out.

"Within this they have also seen that our independently led improvement panel is doing the right thing by bringing all those different people together who have to safeguard and protect our children in Solihull. There's lots to do.

"My considered view is this now is not the time for blame but it is most definitely the time for learning and sorting.

"And also we need to think long and hard about how we support those and help those children and young people live happy and safe lives.

"How we get better at looking after children."