caged killers | 

Grandfather of tragic Arthur (6) says father and stepmother should never be freed

'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'
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with his father Thomas Hughes and Thomas’ partner Emma Tustin (Family Handout/West Midlands Police)

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with his father Thomas Hughes and Thomas’ partner Emma Tustin (Family Handout/West Midlands Police)

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The jailed father and stepmother of tragic six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes should never be released, the little lad’s grandfather has said.

Arthur's maternal grandfather, Peter Halcrow (61) has publicly backed a 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.

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.

Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was jailed for 21 years (West Midlands Police/PA)

Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was jailed for 21 years (West Midlands Police/PA)

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

Mr Halcrow, of Dunkeld, Perthshire, has said both Hughes and Tustin should serve “whole life terms” as punishment, and that “life should mean life in this horrific case”.

Mr Halcrow said: “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.”

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was six years old when he was killed by his father’s partner (West Midlands Police/PA)

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was six years old when he was killed by his father’s partner (West Midlands Police/PA)

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, later died in hospital.

Referring the case to the Court of Appeal, Attorney General Suella 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.

Emma Tustin was jailed for life over Arthur’s murder (West Midlands Police/PA)

Emma Tustin was jailed for life over Arthur’s murder (West Midlands Police/PA)

“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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