Today, Arthur Labinjo Hughes’s relatives blasted the police and social workers who failed to seize the opportunity to save their six-year old son.

MailOnline was told by Madeleine Halcrow, his maternal grandmother. He had the chance to be saved, but it was not taken.

The nurse spoke out as Emma Tustin, 32, was convicted of murdering Arthur on June 17, 2020, during the Covid lockdown. Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes was found guilty for inciting the murder. Hughes sent Tustin an SMS message just 18 hours before his fatal attack, telling him to “just end him”. He was cleared however of any murder. 

They were both found convicted of numerous child cruelty charges after subjecting him to systematic abuse which matched the ‘medical definition of child torture’, including being deprived of food, made to stand for 14 hours a day and poisoned with salt. 

Solihull Council’s Children’s Services is directly to blame for the boy’s death. They failed to recognize a number of opportunities to end Arthur’s torture, before he was killed with 130 injuries.

Joanne Hughes was Arthur’s grandmother and told the court how she felt that there wasn’t anyone else after raising concerns with authorities repeatedly. Daniel was threatened with arrest for violating lockdown rules by going back to his house to see if Arthur was okay with it.

His father took the child into care following Olivia Labinjo Halcrow’s death in February 2019, when his mother was 28. Hughes first met Tustin, a mother of four children online. They moved in together to her house near Solihull in West Midlands after the government placed a lockdown on March 2020.

Madeleine Halcrow stated that Tustin was obsessed with the notion that Thomas would return to Olivia and that Olivia could only be freed if she got rid of Arthur.

Tustin was the mother of two children who were taken in care after a suicide attempt. She complained repeatedly that Arthur’s behavior during lockdown made it difficult for her to cope and asked Hughes to allow Arthur to return home to his grandparents.

Arthur was killed in a head injury that proved too severe for him to survive on the 16th of June 2020. These were the four crucial opportunities that the authorities failed to seize in order to prevent the tragedy. 

  • One Joanne Hughes called social service on April 16 after seeing Arthur covered with bruises. Social workers did not spot the bruises during their visit to Arthur’s home.
  • TWO Joanne told Arthur’s School what she saw on April 20. Staff called social services, and were told that the bruises were due to ‘play.
  • THREE Arthur’s uncle Daniel Hughes raises his concerns with police. However, he is threatened by arrest if he returns to Arthur’s house.
  • FOUR John Dutton is Emma Tustin’s stepfather and makes anonymous calls to social services just weeks before Arthur’s passing.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was beaten to death following months of abuse. His trial hear how relatives repeatedly raised concerns with social services and police but were rebuffed

After months of abuse, Arthur Labinjo Hughes was beat to death. He was a victim of sex abuse. His family raised numerous concerns to the police and social services, but they were ignored. 

Emma Tustin, 32

Thomas Hughes, 29, with Arthur

After Thomas Hughes (29), and Emma Tustin (32) subjected Arthur to months of ‘unimaginable abuse, Arthur was killed by Emma Tustin (22).


They report to social services bruises that Grandmothers have reported to them, but do not spot them in their visits 

This image was taken by Arthur's grandmother Joanne Hughes as part of a desperate attempt to convince the authorities he was in danger

Joanne Hughes, Arthur’s grandmother took this picture in desperate attempts to convince authorities that he was dangerous.

Joanne Hughes was Arthur’s grandmother and called Solihull’s emergency service on April 16 with bruises.

They were also informed by her that Arthur claimed the injuries had been caused him Tustin who “grabbed him on the face and called his names, pushed him, and he bumped into the stairs”.

Jayne Kavanagh, a social worker, and Angela Scarlett–Coppage, a support worker, were sent to Shirley, Solihull the next day to respond to her report.

Mrs Kavanagh said that Arthur appeared to be ‘clean, very happy, and boisterous’ when she found him outside. He had a small, faint yellow spot in his middle that she could not see. 

She and Ms Scarlett Coppage came to the conclusion that Arthur was in good hands and being taken care of by a happy household.

The case was not sent for full social service assessment because they reported that there were no safeguarding concerns. They offered to connect a support worker under the Early Help program, but this did not happen.

Mrs Kavanagh claimed that Arthur had left her in shock when she showed her the photograph of dark bruises along Arthur’s shoulders. 

She was asked in court why she couldn’t spot the bruises she noticed a few days earlier.

She said, “I was shocked and in shock that these photos were taken on the same day as the incident and that my colleague had not seen them the day after.”  

Arthur’s grandmother: Arthur has not yet been buried sixteen months after his death due to family dispute 

Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, told MailOnline that her grandson’s body remains in the mortuary of Leicester Royal Infirmary, where the post-mortem was carried out 16-months ago, due to a legal dispute over who has the right to lay him to rest.

While her family wants to have him buried in quiet, private funeral at a Birmingham churchyard, the Hughes family has a plot and is ready to handle the ceremony.

Ms Halcrow confirmed she had sought legal advice with a firm of solicitors and added: ‘I hope that we can reach some sort of agreement with the Hughes family – for Arthur’s sake.

“But, for the moment it doesn’t seem that way. It’s becoming increasingly probable the matter of who will be able lay him to sleep will go to court.

Madeleine Halcrow was Arthur’s maternal grandmother. Joanne Hughes, her husband Chris and their daughter, Joanne, visited Joanne Hughes’ home in Birmingham, April, to show Joanne Hughes the photograph of Arthur’s bruises, and inquire if they knew where Arthur got them. 

MailOnline spoke to her, stating that she didn’t have any idea because Thomas had prevented me from making contact with Arthur and that I hadn’t seen Arthur since Oct 21, 2019.

“I called Solihull social service immediately, but they said that Arthur had already seen them and there were no issues.

I sent the photos of his back to them and called the police. The officers said they were also at the house. Like social services, they didn’t have concerns as the property was “immaculate”.

“So, an immaculate place doesn’t necessarily constitute child abuse?” This was the last time I know of any additional visits.

Thomas and Emma told both the police officers and the social services that the bruise had been caused by ‘boisterous playing’. It was difficult, as Arthur had never been in contact before. However, it wasn’t done the right way.

She added, “The whole department of social services failed Arthur.” They should have noticed how sick Arthur was and how tired and weak he was. He died just eight weeks later.’ 

Solihull’s £122,294 Director of Children’s Services at the time, Louise Rees, 60, left in August before the trial began. Rees, according to her LinkedIn profile, is now retired and loves it.

Arthur was on the radar of social services for over three years. He was first referred by social services twice in 2018 over concerns regarding his mother Olivia LabinjoHalcrow. Olivia was an alcoholic drug and alcohol user, who eventually was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering her lover.  

Solihull's £122,294 Director of Children's Services at the time of Arthur's death, Louise Rees

Ms Rees

Solihull’s £122,294 Director of Children’s Services at the time of Arthur’s death, Louise Rees, 60, (pictured) left in August before the trial began


A worried teacher contacts social services to complain about the bruises. However, she is informed that these were due to ‘play’. 

“He’s doing great”: What a terrible father did to concerned school employees who were checking on Arthur at lockdown

Staff at Dickens Heath primary school contacted Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes for welfare checks when it shut during the first Covid lockdown in April 2020. 

Thomas responded by painting an idyllic portrait of his son’s childhood – which was a stark contrast to the horrific abuse that he had suffered during that time. 

Hughes responded to messages posted on the school’s messaging system and stated that Hughes’ son enjoyed decorating his room as well as his garden.

He wrote, “Arthur is walking along enjoying the sun and playing in the garden.”

“We may have a barbecue at weekend. Because he is missing his friends, he just wants to be with them now. We appreciate your checking in.

Arthur replied, “Keep taking in the outdoors.” Although we miss you, we will all soon be together when it’s safe. Take a break and enjoy the weekend.

Hughes wrote in another message that Arthur had been doing well. Although he has found it difficult to not be at school or not have a routine, he loves decorating his bedroom.

“He did little schoolwork with Joe. [Wicks]. Stay safe and take care. 

Arthur’s School was informed by Joanne Hughes about the four-day earlier referral she received for social services. 

Michelle Hull (safeguarding lead at Dickens Heath community primary school) then reached out to social services informing them of Joanne’s report. However, they were told that they did not have any concerns. 

Ms. Hull stated to jurors that she was a “very good judge.”[Mrs Hughes]To let us know her concerns, she phoned and requested a referral to MASH (multiagency safeguarding hub).

She said she saw Arthur, and it had left bruises. She stated that she saw bruises.

Ms Hull claimed that Arthur’s grandmother also raised concerns about Tustin’s “mental health” and stated that she was a coercive” partner.

She said that she was worried about the negative relationship.

‘She was worried about Thomas and Arthur because the partner that he had – she was worried about her mental health. Emma was Emma’s partner.

Jonas Hankin, QC, the prosecutor, inquired Ms Hull if social services had clarified to her the nature and purpose of the checks that they conducted on Arthur when she visited him at his home.  

“What details, if any, were you able to give about the nature of these checks? “What information, if any?” the barrister inquired. 

Ms Hull answered, “They told me they saw Arthur and the injuries came from boisterous playing.”

“That everything was fine in the family. There were no problems.”

When asked if Ms Hull had any additional information about injuries that she saw, she replied: “I believe she was referring to bruises on her back.”

Ms Hull stated that the social worker had ‘no concerns regarding parenting’ Tustin.

According to the teacher, social services informed her that Arthur’s grandmother was not allowed to receive any information from Arthur because Arthur had never given consent.

Arthur’s grandmother: Arthur has not yet been buried sixteen months after his death due to family dispute 

Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madelaine Halcrow, told MailOnline that her grandson’s body remains in the mortuary of Leicester Royal Infirmary, where the post-mortem was carried out 16-months ago, due to a legal dispute over who has the right to lay him to rest.

While her family wants to have him buried in quiet, private funeral at a Birmingham churchyard, the Hughes family has a plot and is ready to handle the ceremony.

Ms Halcrow confirmed she had sought legal advice with a firm of solicitors and added: ‘I hope that we can reach some sort of agreement with the Hughes family – for Arthur’s sake.

“But, for the moment it doesn’t seem that way. It’s becoming increasingly probable the matter of who will be able lay him to sleep will go to court.

Ms Hull instead volunteered to help the school, ‘to keep involved and do just check-ins for the family,’ which Mr Hughes accepted.

When asked why she made the offer, Ms Hull replied: “Because they were family that we took in and nurtured. That’s how our school operates.” 

Dickens Heath previously expressed concern about Arthur’s mental health. 

The school opened in February 2019. He was told at the time that his mother had gone to the army after she had been remanded in prison for the murder of her boyfriend.

Aileen Cartabine was his teacher. She said that Aileen learned his mother had been in jail and that Aileen had made him more reserved and anxious. He was “fixed” on his father’s disappearance, his father murdering him and then his mother being taken from him.

Hughes’ mother and school met with Hughes in November 2019. They discussed their concern about Arthur’s vulnerability, his obsession with cuddly toys, and how babyish and dependent he is. 

The school as well as the medic informed them both that Arthur was experiencing normal signs and symptoms and that they needed to respond lovingly and with understanding.

Arthur received a referral from the school to attend mental health services. In March 2020 Arthur saw Kerry Forsyth Benson (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services), a CAMHS practitioner. 


Youngster’s uncle tells the police his injuries. But, officer threatens HIM over Covid rules and makes him go to see nephew. 

Arthur’s uncle, Daniel Hughes, said he also had photos of the youngster’s bruises and showed them to police, but never heard anything back. 

Daniel stated that he tried with other family members to reach Arthur’s home in order to confront Hughes and Tustin. 

He attempted to make another visit to the house, and he called West Midlands Police. However, an officer refused to take any action.  

The Solihull home where Arthur was abused, which his uncle, Daniel Hughes, tried to visit with other relatives to confront Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes about what they were doing to him

Arthur’s abuser, Solihull, was visited by his uncle Daniel Hughes. He tried to bring him along with other family members to confront Emma Tustin, Thomas Hughes and their actions.  

Jurors were told by Daniel that although a reluctant officer agreed to take photos of the bruises, he didn’t hear anything.  

He stated that he had logged on to the police website chat to inquire about what he could do to ensure the safety and well-being of his nephew.

“I had a video chat with an agent. His case number gave me the opportunity to call him privately within 10 minutes.

‘A police officer identified him, and stated that he went to the address with Tustin. [Thomas Hughes]. We were told that we could be held responsible if they asked us to go back to our address.

‘I stated that I had photographs of Arthur’s injuries. He wouldn’t be pleased that he wasn’t okay if he could have seen them. The photos were not accepted by him and he said that he would talk to his sergeant to get back to me. He never did.’

Daniel did not give the exact date and who took photos. 

Arthur was killed. A neighbor posted on Facebook, saying that they also told police that Arthur had been abused. 

The police were contacted and they wrote back: “I called the police!” They wrote: ‘I rang the police! I called child services! They didn’t do anything, and my toddler was killed. Solihull child service makes me sick. 

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has also been investigating West Midlands Police’s handling of this case. It is now expected to release its findings. 


“He was in danger”: Anonymous phone call by Tustin’s Stepfather to social services weeks prior to tragic boy’s death 

John Dutton, Tustin’s stepfather told jurors he called Social Services just weeks before Arthur succumbed to fatal brain injuries. 

Asking him why he recommended the case, which he preferred to remain anonymous about, Dutton replied: “I believed that he was at risk.”

Hughes said that Hughes was a ‘dishonest disciplinarian’ and Dutton admitted to cutting Arthur’s Liverpool City and Birmingham City football shirts.

Days before his death: Arthur attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in CCTV footage shown to Coventry Crown Court

Arthur tried to get a duvet out of the ground where he had slept, days before his death. This was captured in CCTV footage and shown to Coventry Crown Court

Hughes said also that Hughes had confessed during his first Covid lockdown to having ‘gone out on the youngster’ during one of his visits.

Dutton stated that Dutton told them that he’d gone all out on Dutton and then he went back to his room to cry.

Jonas Hankin, the QC prosecutor, asked Dutton what he meant by that statement. He sobbed, “Belt his life out of him.” He said that he was simply shocked. He wasn’t the type.

According to Mr Dutton, Arthur was not allowed into his home after the call because Arthur was being treated badly by his wife.

Arthur said that he was told to face the wall and sit at a desk ‘for hours’ when he arrived at their house.

Arthur’s murderers parents: Arthur’s mother was an alcoholic and she spent 11 years in prison after stabbing her lover, who had been drinking heavily. The attack left Arthur at the mercy his father.

For MailOnline, Nick Craven and Ross Slater  

Arthur Labinjo Hughes’s biological mom was sent to 11 years for murdering her lover. This left the six year old at the mercy his stepmother and evil father. 

Full details of Arthur’s horrific childhood, raised by violent alcoholic Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, were revealed during the harrowing nine-week murder trial of Thomas Hughes, 29, and his 32-year-old girlfriend Emma Tustin.

Arthur was placed in the care of his father in February 2019. This happened after Labinjo Halcrow had killed Gary Cunningham (29), by stabbing him twelve times with a kitchen knives in an drunken rage.

Hughes and Tustin, a mother of four children, met online. They moved in together to her house near Solihull in West Midlands after the government announced a national lockdown.

Madelaine Halcrow claimed that Tustin was “obsessed” about the possibility that Thomas would come back to Olivia. She also said that Olivia couldn’t get out of Olivia’s life unless she got rid Arthur. 

Tustin had her two children placed in foster care because of a suicide attempt. Tustin repeatedly complained that Arthur was too difficult to handle and asked Hughes for permission to have Arthur return to his grandparents. 

Arthur's biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29

She killed her partner Gary Cunningham by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019

Arthur’s biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, (left) killed her partner Gary Cunningham (right) by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019

Arthur witnessed many scenes of domestic violence even before his passing. Arthur witnessed Labinjo/Halcrow stab Mr Cunningham on one occasion.

Home video that captures six year old boy’s last desperate shouts of “no one love me” in harrowing detail 

Arthur’s harrowing last recorded moments show him struggling to pick up his duvet from the floor where he was forced to sleep for days on end – just hours before he was savagely murdered by his father and stepmother.

It is a heart-wrenching video that was recorded on CCTV. The clip shows Arthur looking sluggish and his pyjamas hanging down.

The heart-wrenching clip shows an emaciated Arthur, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimace in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and pillow

This heartbreaking clip features Arthur in his emaciated state, with his pyjamas hanging from him. He grimaced as he tried to grab his pillow and cover.

He is seen struggling to stand before slumping to the floor of the living room. As he struggles with walking to the opposite side of the room, he cries out “no one love me” four times.

He takes more than 2 minutes to get up and pick up his duvet, then he can walk for two miles to reach a door that leads to another room. Arthur can also be heard in audio clips that were released along with the West Midlands Police video and played before the court seven times.  

The tragic boy can be heard crying 'nobody loves me' as he is seen barely able to walk across the room

He is barely able walk and can be heard crying “nobody love me”

Arthur witnessed terrible arguments between his mother, Thomas Hughes, and one time ended up “cowering under the sheets” as they tore into each other.

Labinjo-Halcrow and Hughes were seeing each other at the same times, and Hughes was having a relationship with Hughes up until her death.

After a row about Arthur sleeping with Mr Cunningham on February 16, they ended up wrestling as Hughes drove Arthur to Hughes’ home.

Labinjo Halcrow, originally convicted for manslaughter under diminished responsibility, was sentenced and held 18 years at Birmingham Crown Court.

The Court of Appeal overturned her conviction in August after judges found that she was acting in self defense.

After a Birmingham Crown Court retrial, jurors found her guilty in July 2021 of manslaughter and sentenced her to eleven years.

According to the court, Labinjo Halcrow was Mr Cunningham’s occasional girlfriend.

In her first trial, she said that she was the victim sexual abuse and rape at the hands of the victim.

Judge Simon Drew QC, however, dismissed the allegations. She described her instead as “someone that could be bullying, manipulative and prone for lying”.

Arthur moved in with Hughes after his mother was arrested.

Arthur was diagnosed with high anxiety in July 2019 by a doctor.

Arthur was so sick in November 2019 that Thomas and Hughes talked to Dickens Heath Community Primary, Shirley, as well as Dr Sarah Dixon, a paediatrician about it.

Arthur is described as: anxious, clingy and having nightmares. He also has a tendency to become obsessed with killing. According to the child’s circumstances, all of these traits were normal. 

Arthur also stated that he was worried his father would kill him. This was “not normal”.

Hughes received advice from the doctor saying that Hughes needed to love his son and care for him. He should not force him into changing or label his poor behavior as naughtiness.

Arthur was told several times that his mother had joined the Army and had been taken to prison, but she would be soon released.

Aileen Carabine (special education needs coordinator at the school) stated that Arthur had become ‘fixated with his father’s disappearance from his life and was being taken from him by his dad, killing him. 

Ms Carabine stated that Arthur joined the school in February 2019. However, he did not know about his mother’s imprisonment until March of this year.

According to the teacher, Arthur was ‘deteriorating’ by October 2019, and had become more reserved and anxious. She said that Arthur was not as happy.

Hughes received a letter from the school advising him to tell his son what he thought after Halcrow was sentenced in September 2019.

Arthur with his father. The youngster died after his head was repeatedly smashed against a hard surface

Arthur and his father. After his head repeatedly hit against the hard surface, Arthur was killed.  

A boy who was never given a chance. From his mother who killed him, to his stepmother and father who mocked him and made fun of him until the end – timeline for tragic case 

February 23, 2019 – Arthur’s biological mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, kills her partner Gary Cunningham by  stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife. Arthur, 29, is taken into the custody of Thomas Hughes. He meets Emma Tustin (32), later online. 

January 6, 2020Arthur’s school begins to raise concern about Arthur, such as his clinginess and obsessive use of soft toys. 

MarchHughes and Arthur arrive in Solihull to live with Tustin. 

April 16:  Arthur’s paternal grandmother, Joanne Hughes, made a call to Solihull council’s emergency team to report bruises on his shoulders.

April 17 Social worker Jayne Kavanagh and support worker Angela Scarlett-Coppage visit Tustin’s home but report ‘no concerns’. 

April 20Joanne Hughes is desperate and tells Arthur’s School about the referral she made to social services four days before. Michelle Hull from Dickens Heath community primary school is safeguarding lead. However, she contacts social service and they tell her that there’s no concern. 

April (Information not available on the date): Thomas Hughes slanders Arthur’s school online, insisting that he is “doing grand”. 

April (Necessary date not known) Arthur’s uncle Daniel Hughes attempts to notify police of Arthur’s bruises. 

May/June(Precise date not known): Tustin’s stepfather John Dutton claims that he called anonymously social services when he was Tustin.

June 15Final video: Arthur, a feisty and ill man struggles to grab a duvet off the floor of his living room where he was forced to rest. 

June 16: Arthur after suffering an ‘unsurvivable injury’ caused by Tustin repeatedly banging his head on a hard surface. 

December 1, 2021:  Labinjo-Halcrow is jailed for 11 years for killing Mr Cunningham. 

Tustin’s barrister Mary Prior informed the court that Hughes visited the doctor two days after Arthur’s sixth birthday, Jan 6, 2020. Hughes stated to him that the school was concerned about Arthur’s clinginess, and obsession with soft toys.

This was despite the fact that teachers told her this.

Arthur sobbed to school about his father’s decision to take his beloved teddy away on March 4. Hughes received a response from the school, which told Hughes that this was not right and advised him to stop blaming his father.

Hughes was screaming with his dad on New Year’s Eve because Hughes’s parenting has been criticised.

Hughes lost his relationship with family members.

Arthur was believed to be grieving for his mother. Hughes, however, banned contact with Arthur and caused a meltdown on Mother’s Day.

According to Ms. Prior, Tustin told Hughes repeatedly that Hughes could not handle it and suggested that Arthur and/or both should go back home.

According to her, Hughes was in bed during lockdown and he also played computer games. He would go on lengthy shopping trips that left Tustin so he could deal with the kids.

She quoted from Tustin’s text, “I am naked and waiting for You, all pre-prepared, and waiting for Your soul to take mine.”

Emma responds that he’ll be patient for a long time.

He began to starve Arthur and the boy started screaming.

According to Ms Prior, the ‘noise & cruelty’ were not enough to stop him becoming aroused.

He would eat ice creams and walk about in the heat, right in front his child.

The school offered Arthur a place in school during May despite Hughes’ lockdown.

Arthur told him he was very happy. Arthur was unable to come into school on the 8th of June due to headaches.

According to her, the jury heard that she had read the messages and was asking for help. She said: “Please come back.” “She kept repeating the same thing over and over, “What do you want me do with him ?’.’?” Ms Prior claims that Hughes replied to her saying she should ‘end him, finish him, and take his jaw off’. But, none of these things happened.

Hughes warned Tustin that he would ‘take his jaw from his shoulders’ in one message. Attach a rope to Hughes’ mouth and wrap a socks around it.

She pointed out Hughes’s statement to police that he had said ‘I could’t hit any woman’ or their children so Arthur bore the brunt my frustrations’.

Headbutting, pressure-pointing his neck, placing his foot on the stomach and repeatedly assaulting him were some of his tactics.

Hughes was quoted as saying that it was “a clash of emotions” and that Hughes was trying to crush the son’s ego by telling him he would drive him around to tell him no and driving him all over. The boy’s favorite football strip was also taken away by Hughes.