Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder: Mother releases photos taken months before son's death

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder: Mother releases photos taken months before son’s death
© PA Arthur Labinjo-Hughes death

The mother of Arthur-Labinjo-Hughes has released photos showing them smiling together in the months before he was killed by his “wicked” stepmother.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, 6, was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of his “evil” stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, who had cruelly abused, starved and poisoned him.

On Friday, Tustin was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years at Coventry Crown Court. Her partner Thomas Hughes, Arthur’s father, was jailed for 21 years after being convicted of manslaughter after encouraging the “evil” killing.

Arthur’s mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, has now released images of her son in the months leading up to his death.

One image shows him grinning in his mother’s arms as he holds a marshmallow on a stick.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder: Mother releases photos taken months before son’s death
© Provided by Evening Standard (PA)

In another, he is strolling along a pavement and smiling at the camera with a build-a-bear bag over his shoulders.

In a statement Ms Labinjo-Halcrow, who is serving 11 years in prison for killing her partner, spoke of her heartbreak at the loss of her son.

She said: “He was just a child, he had no-one to talk to, no one to ask for help when he was scared and needed protecting the most.”

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder: Mother releases photos taken months before son’s death
© Provided by Evening Standard (PA)

“My son’s bright blue, effervescent eyes lost their sparkle and they weren’t smiling anymore. They took his sparkle and his naivety from him and then they took him from this world.

“A child, my child, my little love defenceless, trusting and nothing but loving was killed. His short life was stolen – he will never see another Christmas, another birthday.”

Recalling the last time she spoke to Arthur, she added: ‘It was the most excited I had ever heard him. He knew he was going to see me soon. He asked how many packets of Drumstick Squashies I had saved him. I told him he could have as many packets as he wanted as long as he ate his sausage, mash and peas first.

“He giggled his usual mischievous giggle and said ‘OK mum, I promise’.

“He never got his Drumstick Squashies and I never got to remind him just how beautiful he was or how much he was loved.”

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder: Mother releases photos taken months before son’s death
© Provided by Evening Standard (PA)

During the course of the eight-week trial, it emerged that Arthur had been visited by social workers just two months before his death. His grandmother, Joanne Hughes, had raised concerns over his welfare with authorities, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.

The judge called Arthur’s father’s “encouragement” of his girlfriend’s actions “chilling”.

He added: “You were Arthur’s father, in a position of trust and bore primary responsibility for protecting him.

“He was extremely vulnerable and you lied to his school in the last days of Arthur’s life to protect both you and Ms Tustin.”

Ms Labinjo-Halcrow was herself jailed for stabbing her own partner to death in a drink and drug-fuelled rage in 2019, leaving her ex in sole custody of their son.

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