Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ killer father has his 21-year jail term INCREASED by three years after judge ruled he ‘encouraged’ partner Emma Tustin to torture the six-year-old
- Thomas Hughes will now serve a minimum term of 24 years for the horrific crime
- Judges refused to change sentence handed to Arthur’s murderer Emma Tustin
- Today Sarah Everard’s killer Wayne Couzens had his whole life sentence upheld
- But murderer of children’s author Helen Bailey had his whole life order struck off
The killer father of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes today had his sentence for manslaughter increased by three years after the Court of Appeal concluded it was unduly lenient.
Thomas Hughes will now serve a minimum term of 24 years in prison for the sickening crime, which prompted a national outpouring of grief.
Attorney General Suella Braverman had also challenged the 29-year minimum term handed to Arthur’s stepmother, Emma Tustin. But today the judges refused to change the term and concluded she should not be given a whole life order.
Today, Lord Burnett of Maldon ruled Hughes had ‘encouraged’ Tustin to torturer and then murder Arthur.
Thomas Hughes (left) will now serve a minimum term of 24 years in prison for killing Arthur Labinjo-Hughes following months of abuse. Emma Tustin (right) did not have her sentence increased
Six-year-old Arthur was beaten, tortured and then murdered by Tustin at her home in Solihull
Lord Burnett said in today’s judgment: ‘We consider that there is substance in the Attorney General’s argument relating to manslaughter that in encouraging Tustin to harm Arthur in the way he did there was a substantial risk that she would do something that would kill him.’
He continued: ‘The manslaughter bristled with aggravating features including as grave a breach of trust as can be imagined in respect of a small boy who was especially vulnerable, not least as a result of Hughes’ own conduct. He lied to Arthur’s school to keep him at home to protect both himself and Tustin.’
The judge added: ‘Without the cruelty offences the manslaughter deserved a sentence of 18 years or more. The judge’s view was that the offence fell just short of murder and, as we have said, the risk of death, given the preceding conduct, was real.
‘In our view the appropriate sentence is one of 24 years’ imprisonment to take account of all the offending.’
Six-year-old Arthur was beaten, tortured and then murdered by Tustin at her home in Solihull.
In May, senior judges heard challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five convicted killers. Alongside Tustin, 32, and Hughes, 29, these also included Sarah Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens and Ian Stewart, who killed children’s author Helen Bailey.
Couzens’ whole life order was upheld today, but Stewart’s was reduced from a whole life order to life with a 35-year minimum term.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes waking up hours before he collapsed from fatal injuries on CCTV
During Tustin and Hughes’ trial, It emerged 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 last 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.
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
‘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.
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.’