The dad of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has not been attacked in prison - despite rumours he had been seriously injured in an assault.
Tustin, 32, carried out the fatal assault on 16 June while in sole care of Arthur, 6, at her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, violently shaking him and repeatedly banging his head.
When Arthur died the following day, his body was covered in 130 bruises.
Hughes, 29,was found guilty of his son’s manslaughter for encouraging the killing.
Who is Thomas Hughes?
Thomas Hughes is the father of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. Arthur had moved in with Hughes and Tustin, who he started a relationship with in 2019, at the start of the national lockdown in March last year. Arthur’s mum had been jailed for killing her boyfriend.
As well as the manslaughter conviction, Hughes, who was a labourer, was also convicted of the cruelty offences which Tustin had admitted but was cleared of withholding food and drink, or of poisoning his own son with salt.
Footage of his morning routine showed how Arthur was beaten, manhandled and punished from the moment he was woken, at around 7am, each day, after he and his father moved in with Tustin.
Hughes would also “pressure-point” Arthur for up to 15 seconds at a time, removed his son’s favourite teddy bear and cut up his prized Birmingham City FC football shirts in front of him.
On one occasion before his death, Arthur had told his father: “I am in danger with you, dad.”
But Hughes claimed he had been “manipulated”, “mentally abused” and “gaslighted” by Tustin into going along with her behavioural regime, which began with the strict use of “chair rules” and a “naughty step”, introduced by his partner.
He told jurors in evidence that he had “probably” placed the couple’s relationship above the welfare of his son.
The judge called Hughes’ “encouragement” of his girlfriend’s actions “chilling”, including sending a text message 18 hours before the attack saying “just end him”.
During sentencing the judge, Mr Justice Wall said Hughes had “apparently cared properly” for Arthur before he became “infatuated” with Tustin to the extent it “obliterated all love for your son.”
He said:“Hughes, you would have seen the marks on Arthur when he undressed in front of you. You Hughes, I am sure, researched pressure pointing Arthur and then did it. Not in the playful way you suggested but as an attempt to cause maximum pain with minimum injury”
“You were out of the house when your partner did what she did to your son. But she did it in part because of the encouragement you gave her. In the weeks preceding his murder you made a series of graphic and chilling threats to Arthur or about him.”
Has he been attacked in prison?
No. A blog post online had suggested Hughes had been attacked in jail and had been left seriously injured, and in a critical condition.
However, the Ministry of Justice said rumours of an attack were “false”.
A spokeswoman from the MoJ said:”The rumours are false. There’s nothing to suggest he has been assaulted.”
What was the sentence imposed?
Hughes was jailed for 21 years. He also received nine years each for the child cruelty offences, but they will be served alongside his manslaughter term.
The judge told Hughes that as there was “very high culpability” in the offence he had been convicted of there was a a starting point of 18 years for sentencing.
“I judge your culpability for the manslaughter as being high. You encouraged violence intending that it should result in injury just short of really serious harm. I reach that conclusion based on the level of threats you made about him and the regularity of your own assaults on him.
“The persistence of your cruelty to Arthur leads me to conclude that I should pass a sentence for manslaughter within the bracket of the guideline reserved for cases in which there is very high culpability.
“You were Arthur’s father, in a position of trust over him and bore the prime responsibility for protecting him. Arthur was extremely vulnerable.”
Hughes was told he would serve two thirds of the sentence less any time he had already spent in custody before being released on licence.
The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) confirmed the sentences imposed on Tustin and Hughes are to be reviewed to “determine whether they were too low”.
The AGO has 28 days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme, and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal.
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