Thomas Hughes, jailed for 21 years for the killing of Arthur, had reportedly been ‘passive’ on the issue until now but hoped the decision would provide a ‘tiny scrap of peace’ to Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, his lawyer said
Image: BPM Media)
Killer father Thomas Hughes will release Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ body to his mum for a funeral.
Thomas Hughes had reportedly been ‘passive’ on the issue until now but hoped the decision would provide a ‘tiny scrap of peace’ to Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, his lawyer said.
The 29-year-old was jailed for 21 years after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of six-year-old Arthur, who collapsed of severe head injuries at home in Solihull, on June 16 last year.
His girlfriend Emma Tustin, 32, who inflicted the fatal attack, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 29 years after the jury found her guilty of murder.
The case has broken hearts around the world and the last few days have been dominated by tributes to the little Birmingham City fan, ranging from football stadium applause to a community vigil. T
As the ‘evil’ father and step-mother were sentenced at Coventry Crown Court on Friday – December 3 – it was confirmed Arthur has yet to be laid to rest.
Ms Labinjo-Halcrow is currently in prison herself after being convicted of the manslaughter of her boyfriend Gary Cunningham.
It was her arrest and remand into custody in February 2019 that led to Arthur falling into the care of ‘bullying’ Hughes.
In an emotional statement, read by her mum Madeleine Halcrow, Arthur’s grandmother, she said her life had been ‘destroyed’ by her son’s death.
She added: “Now over a year on my beautiful boy has still not been laid to rest. He is still alone and cold; the people who took him refuse to show compassion and allow his little body to be released to me, his mother; to finally let him rest peacefully and warm.
“Burying my beloved son is the final thing I will ever be able to do for him. The waiting is torture and even though I try to stop myself every night when I get into a warm bed, my heart breaks all over again at the thought of my Arthur alone in the cold.”
Bernard Richmond QC, barrister for Hughes, said a ‘degree of passivity’ was part of his client’s character and he had not been ‘fighting’ or ‘standing up’ for the things he should have.
He told the court Hughes had left the issue of Arthur’s remains to his family and Ms Labinjo-Halcrow’s family to resolve but they had not been able to agree.
Mr Richmond added: “I have spoke to him and said this can’t go on. He has instructed me to say that Arthur’s remains, after a service with his family, must go to his mother’s family for her to have a funeral and she must have control of his ashes.
“He does hope he can give Olivia a tiny scrap of peace.”
Hughes and Tustin subjected Arthur to a ‘campaign’ of systematic abuse during lockdown last year, lying about his welfare to the school and misleading social services. The involvement of the latter will now be the subject of an independent review.
Arthur’s head and body had around 130 bruises and showed signs of prolonged distress similar to children with cancer.
As well as manslaughter Hughes was convicted of two counts of child cruelty relating to wilfully assaulting Arthur and making him stand in isolation in a hallway for up to 14 hours a day. Tustin admitted those offences and was convicted of two further counts concerning depriving Arthur of food and water as well as poisoning him with salt
She beat Arthur to death in the hallway around 2.29pm on June 16 when she was alone with him.
He was rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital shortly after his fatal collapse but his catastrophic head injuries were irreversible. He died in intensive care at 1am on June 17 last year.