Urgent national review into murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, 6, launched after social services turned blind eye to abuse
AN URGENT national review into the murder of little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has been launched after social services turned a blind eye to the abuse he suffered.
Arthur, six, was brutally killed by his vile stepmum Emma Tustin, 32, and dad Thomas Hughes, 29.
The government has launched the major review into the circumstances leading up to Arthur's death to determine what improvements need to be made by the agencies that came into contact with him in the months before he died.
Eduction secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said the government "will not rest" until they have answers
"Arthur’s murder has shocked and appalled the nation," he said.
"I am deeply distressed by this awful case and the senseless pain inflicted on this poor boy, who has been robbed of the chance to live his life.
“I have taken immediate action and asked for a joint inspection to consider where improvements are needed by all the agencies tasked with protecting children in Solihull, so that we can be assured that we are doing everything in our power to protect other children and prevent such evil crimes.
“Given the enormity of this case, the range of agencies involved and the potential for its implications to be felt nationally, I have also asked Annie Hudson, chair of the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel, to work with leaders in Solihull to deliver a single, national review of Arthur’s death to identify where we must learn from this terrible case.
“We are determined to protect children from harm and where concerns are raised we will not hesitate to take urgent and robust action. We will not rest until we have the answers we need.”
The government has separately commissioned four inspectorates, covering social care, health, police and probation to undertake an urgent inspection of the safeguarding agencies in Solihull to whom Arthur was known.
As part of this inspection, all the agencies tasked with protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect in Solihull will be subject to a Joint Targeted Area Inspection to consider their effectiveness and advise on where improvements must be made
The independent, national review will also identify the lessons that must be learnt from Arthur’s case for the benefit of other children elsewhere in England.
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said ministers are determined to see what lessons can be learned from the youngster's cruel murder.
Asked if there would be an inquiry, Mr Raab told Sky News: "The Prime Minister made clear that we want to see how social services liaise with the criminal justice agencies, and what lessons we can learn.
"It is right that we look at the criminal justice end and in between that I think the job of social workers – particularly those looking at children at particular risk – we need to learn the lessons."
He added: "I do think we have got to make sure a more precautionary approach which looks at the risk to those particularly vulnerable young children and see what more we can do to read those early signs earlier and better."
Children's Commissioner for England Dame Rachel de Souza has said the system "must listen to the voices of children" in the wake of Arthur's murder.
'SYSTEM DID NOT HEAR HIM'
She told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "First I think it's so important we're here talking about Arthur's case. The life of a child is of inestimable value and his voice was not heard and that's where we need to start.
"Obviously there's a serious case review under way and we need to see what that says but we must take decisive action and now. Now my concern is that here we are 20 years since this post was set up and we're still having these cases and there are two things that I think we absolutely have to do and do now.
"One – Arthur raised concerns, he was not a baby, he was six years old, he raised concerns and the system did not hear him.
"We must listen to the voices of children and secondly, no doubt with these reviews and national reviews that are absolutely right that they happen, they tend to make the same recommendations – it's not a matter of system recommendations, it's a matter of delivery."
It comes after the Attorney General's Office confirmed Tustin and Hughes' sentences are to be reviewed.
Evil Tustin, 32, was caged for life with a minimum of 29 years after being convicted of murder while Hughes, 29, was jailed for 21 years after being found guilty of manslaughter.
Arthur, six, was isolated, poisoned with salt and starved in his final months before twisted Tustin’s fatal attack where she banged his head repeatedly against a hard surface.
During the trial, the court heard that sick Tustin had tried to take an overdose and attempted to hang herself to avoid facing punishment for murdering tragic Arthur.
On June 16 last year, Tustin repeatedly smashed the youngster's head against a hard surface causing him to collapse.
He died in hospital the next day from a "head trauma inflicted on him by an adult" consistent with being "vigorously shaken and his head banged repeatedly against a hard surface".
Arthur's frail and skeletal body was covered with 130 bruises and he suffered 93 different areas of injury – including on his head, arms, legs, feet and torso.
His death followed a sadistic “campaign of cruelty” carried out by the warped pair.
A series of missed opportunities by police, social workers and teachers allowed little Arthur to be brutally starved, tortured and beaten to death by his evil father and step-mum.
In chilling similarities to the horrific Baby P case several years ago, the system badly failed Arthur, who was also found poisoned with a massive dose of salt when he died.
After twisted Hughes and Tustin were jailed, it was revealed that despite police and social services shutting down opportunities to step in to help Arthur, no professionals have yet faced disciplinary action.
Cowardly social services workers even wanted to be anonymous giving evidence in court.
A serious case review has now been launched into the shortcomings – including that Tustin was already known to children’s services over previous concerns of domestic violence.
West Midlands Police, too, has been probed by the police watchdog over its actions after worried family members raised concerns over Arthur’s safety.
The cruel couple – who blamed each other for the horrors inflicted on Arthur – hoodwinked the authorities who missed crucial opportunities to intervene.
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