Who was Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and what happened to him?

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.

Emma Tustin was convicted of murder last December and sentenced to life in prison. She must serve 29 years behind bars before she can be considered for release.

Arthur's dad Thomas Hughes was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter.

The prison sentences handed to the killers of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes have been referred to the Court of Appeal for being too lenient.

Who was Arthur Labinjo-Hughes?

"He enjoyed his food, liked school, loved playing cricket and football and adored spending his time with his extended family," was how a judge described Arthur - at the time he first moved to live with his father and Emma Tustin in Solihull.

He was a "healthy, happy young boy."

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

At the time of his death, Arthur was living with his father Thomas Hughes, and his father's partner Emma Tustin.

Arthur suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of those who should have been looking after him.

Video taken by Arthur's uncle shows the six-year-old in happier times talking about his footballing dreams

When did Arthur Labinjo-Hughes die?

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, Solihull, West Midlands

The schoolboy died in hospital the next day.

What happened to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes?

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. 

Cranmore Road in Shirley

The court heard she fetched her mobile phone immediately afterwards to take a photograph of Arthur as he lay dying in the hallway of her home. 

Arthur's body was covered in 130 bruises, his injuries compared to those in a car crash.

What happened to Arthur's mother?

Arthur had lived with his mum, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, for most of his life.

She and his father split up just before his second birthday, however they shared custody.

In February 2019, Ms Labinjo-Halcrow was arrested on suspicion of murdering her new partner, Gary Cunningham.

At trial, it emerged their relationship had been abusive and she would be convicted for manslaughter. She was jailed for 11 years in July.

In a tribute read out by his grandmother in December 2021, Ms Labinjo-Halcrow said details of her six-year-old boy's abuse and death were "harrowing and incomparable".

She said: "Arthur was the light of my life. He wasn't just my only child - he was my best friend.

"Never did I imagine he would be taken from this world so early in his life. If Arthur could ask for one last thing, it would be that he was remembered for his superpower.

"That will always be what I remember and Arthur's superpower was his smile."

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes' sentences appealed

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.

Review launched into death

"Manipulative" and "calculating" Tustin was unanimously convicted after an eight-week trial trial, with the boy’s "pitiless" father Hughes, 29, found guilty of his manslaughter, after encouraging the killing.

Hughes’ "infatuation" for Tustin had "obliterated" any love for his son, sentencing judge Mr Justice Mark Wall QC told the court.

A petition launched in the aftermath of the sentencing, calling for whole life sentences for child killers, has surpassed half a million signatures.

A review has been launched into death. Investigators want to understand how abuse of this scale was allowed to continue for so long - and with such devastating consequences.