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Grandfather of murdered Arthur Labinjo-Hughes says Tustin and Hughes should face whole life terms

The grandfather of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has said his jailed father and step-mother should never be released as he publicly backed the decision to review the pair’s ‘lenient’ sentences.

Little Arthur was beaten and tortured before his murder at the hands of stepmother Emma Tustin at her home in Solihull.

The case prompted a national outpouring of grief and ministers vowed to take action after Tustin was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 29 years and Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter.

However, the killers could face longer jail terms if the Court of Appeal decides to change the pair’s ‘unduly lenient’ sentences.

Arthur’s maternal grandfather, Peter Halcrow, 61, has publicly agreed with the decision by Attorney General Suella Braverman that will see judges ponder whether or not they will increase their time behind bars.

Mr Halcrow, of Dunkeld, Perthshire, told the Sun that both Hughes and Tustin should serve ‘whole life terms’ as punishment, and that ‘life should mean life in this horrific case’. 

Peter Halcrow, 61, the grandfather of Arthur-Labinjo-Hughes, has publicly agreed with the decision by Attorney General Suella Braverman that will see judges ponder whether or not they will increase their time behind bars

Six-year-old Arthur was beaten and tortured before his murder at the hands of his stepmother

Six-year-old Arthur was beaten and tortured before his murder at the hands of his stepmother

Emma Tustin

The case prompted a national outpouring of grief and ministers vowed to take action after Tustin was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 29 years and Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter

It emerged in court that Arthur was seen by social workers during the first national lockdown just two months before his death in Solihull, West Midlands, in June last year. But they concluded there were ‘no safeguarding concerns’ and closed the file. 

Tustin and Hughes starved the youngster, force-fed him salt-laden dishes and made him stand alone for more than 14 hours a day, in a degrading, punishing and hellish regime over the final painful months of his life. 

He was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of his father’s ‘evil’ partner Tustin. 

Arthur, whose body was also covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

Mr Halcrow continued: ‘I have never favoured the death penalty because I know mistakes can be made by courts, but in my view they have forfeited their right to live.

‘It will burden taxpayers but, as we don’t have capital punishment, they should certainly never leave prison as long as they live for such cruelty and inhumanity.’

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

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes waking up hours before he collapsed from fatal injuries on  CCTV

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes waking up hours before he collapsed from fatal injuries on  CCTV

The photograph taken by Arthur's paternal grandmother prompted a referral to social services, however the bruises were put down to 'play-fighting' with another youngster

The photograph taken by Arthur’s paternal grandmother prompted a referral to social services, however the bruises were put down to ‘play-fighting’ with another youngster

Hughes’ ‘infatuation’ for Tustin had ‘obliterated’ any love for his son, sentencing judge Mr Justice Mark Wall QC said, and jailed him for 21 years.

Referring the case to the Court of Appeal, Ms Braverman said: ‘This is an extremely upsetting and disturbing case, involving a clearly vulnerable young child.

‘Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes grossly abused their position of trust and subjected an innocent child, who they should have been protecting to continued emotional and physical abuse.

‘I understand how distressing the public have found this case, but it is my job to decide if a sentence appears to be unduly lenient based on the facts of the case.

‘I have carefully considered the details of this case, and I have decided to refer the sentences to the Court of Appeal as I believe them to be too low.’

A date for the hearing at the Court of Appeal is yet to be set.

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