Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes’ sentences referred to appeal court for being ‘too low’

Emma Tustin was jailed for a minimum of 29 years for the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, while Thomas Hughes was given 21 years for his manslaughter

The jail sentences handed to Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, have been referred to the Court of Appeal for being too lenient.

The Attorney General Suella Braverman has referred the sentences of Tustin and Hughes to the Court of Appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme.

Tustin was jailed for life with a minimum of 29 years for the murder of Arthur, while his father Thomas Hughes, 29, who was convicted of his son’s manslaughter after encouraging the killing was jailed for 21 years. Both were also convicted of child cruelty charges.

Tustin, who also fed Arthur salt-laced meals, has had salt thrown at her by inmates while she was on remand.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was murdered by his stepmum Emma Tustin while her partner, Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes, 29, who was convicted of manslaughter for encouraging the killing

The 32-year-old inflicted an “unsurvivable” brain injury on Arthur while she was in sole care of him on 16 June, 2020. He died the following day and was found to have 130 bruises on his body.

Speaking about the case, the Attorney General said: “My thoughts are with all those who loved Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. 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.”

Tustin claimed Arthur fell and banged his head

Tustin carried out the fatal assault at her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, violently shaking him and repeatedly banging his head, likely against the hallway wall.

She then callously took a photograph of the unconscious youngster on her mobile phone, while he lay dying in her hall, then sending the image to Hughes.

Tustin then took 12 minutes to call 999, instead first ringing Hughes, before lying to medics and later police that Arthur “fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times”.

Audio and video clips recorded in the final weeks of Arthur’s life revealed he was “scarcely able to articulate his words” and could no longer support his own weight by the time of his murder.

Even Tustin admitted in court that it was “horrendous” to listen to and watch footage of him captured on her mobile phone and CCTV cameras inside her lounge.

Hughes was convicted of manslaughter after encouraging the killing by his actions, including sending a text message to Tustin 18 hours before the fatal assault telling her “just end him”

On one occasion before his death, Arthur had told his father: “I am in danger with you, dad.”

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