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Terms of reference for review into Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson announced

The terms of reference for the national reviews into the deaths of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson have been announced by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel.

The national review will examine the circumstances leading up to the deaths of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson. It will draw on the Panel’s overview of the national context through the serious child safeguarding incidents it scrutinises to consider whether what happened to Arthur and Star reflects wider national issues.

The review will establish what happened to Arthur and Star during their lives and investigate agency involvement with all those charged with caring for them. The Safeguarding Panel wants to try to understand what life was really like for Arthur and Star by hearing from all those involved, especially his family.

Furthermore, the review will evaluate how agencies acted to safeguard Arthur and Star and what factors enabled or limited their ability to protect them both from the fatal abuse and neglect that they suffered.

The Panel will analyse findings alongside learning from other serious incidents and relevant broader evidence and make recommendations about how local and/or national safeguarding practice and systems should change to protect children in the future.

The Panel aims to publish the review by the end of May 2022.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died in June 2020 following months of abuse and neglect at the hands of his father Thomas Hughes and step-mother Emma Tustin.

Emma Tustin was found guilty of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Thomas Hughes was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury at Coventry Crown Court.

The couple also faced four charges of cruelty to a child. On the opening day of the trial on 5 October 2021, Tustin pleaded guilty to one charge of wilfully ill-treating Arthur on multiple occasions by forced standing, isolation and intimidation.

In the final days of the trial Tustin admitted a second charge of child cruelty, namely assaulting Arthur on multiple occasions.

However, she was also convicted of two further charges of cruelty by withholding food and drink and by administering salt.

Hughes was also convicted on two counts of cruelty, by forced standing, isolation and intimidation, and also by assaulting Arthur. He was cleared of murder, cruelty by withholding food and drink and by administering salt.

Emma Tustin was jailed for life with a minimum of 29 years after she was found guilty of murdering Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. His father Thomas Hughes was convicted of his manslaughter and jailed for 21 years.

In December, the government has launched a major review into the circumstances leading up to murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with him in the months before he died. The government also announced that four inspectorates, covering social care, health, police and probation have been commissioned to undertake an urgent inspection of the safeguarding agencies in Solihull to whom Arthur was known.

Separately, in January, an independent Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review was commissioned by The Bradford Partnership to establish whether anything could have been done differently following the tragic death of Star Hobson.

Star was just 16 months old when she was taken to hospital on 22 September 2020 after suffering a cardiac arrest and sadly died the same day. Her mother Frankie Smith has been found guilty for causing or allowing the death of a child while Frankie’s partner Savannah Brockhill has been found guilty of murdering Star following a trial at Bradford Crown Court.

In January it emerged that children’s social care services in Bradford were to be placed in a Trust in a bid to drive rapid improvements. At the same time, the government also announced independent Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will now consolidate the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review for Star Hobson into its national review of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes to identify local and national improvements needed by safeguarding agencies.

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