THE heartbroken gran of a six-year-old boy tortured to death by his dad and stepmum said today: "I have failed".
Joanne Hughes took pictures of bruised Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and flagged her concerns to social services but her pleas went unanswered.
Just two months later, the youngster had been killed by his dad Thomas Hughes, 29, and stepmum Emma Tustin, 32.
The evil pair are being sentenced today at Coventry Crown Court after a harrowing trial.
Tustin, who was yesterday convicted of murder, has cowardly refused to enter the courtroom and face Arthur's devastated family.
Arthur's "pitiless" dad Hughes is also being sentenced after being found guilty of manslaughter.
His mother Joanne slammed Tustin for her "complete lack of remorse".
In a powerful victim impact statement, she said: "At no time have I heard evidence of her asking about Arthur or his condition – only her complete disdain and inconvenience of the situation.
“However, I noted several times that she thought it appropriate to bring to the attention of others Arthur’s behaviour to justify her actions.
“The only pity she has shown is for herself, and not once has she apologised for Arthur’s passing while in her sole care.
“It is clear from Miss Tustin’s evidence we as a family will not have a definite answer or explanation as to how Arthur died. Yet another burden we will have to shoulder for our lifetime."
Ms Hughes also said her grandson was "failed" by the authorities before his death.
She added: “As a mother and grandmother it is with profound despondency that I have failed in my sole purpose to keep my loved ones safe and ensure their life is filled only with love, happiness and contentment.
"This woeful is no longer the case for any of us. And it is with a heavy heart that we have all realised this will never be the case again.
"We as a family are emphatic that Arthur would be alive today, a happy, contented, thriving, seven year old, with the opportunity to reach his full potential during his lifetime, if Tom had not met Emma Tustin. We believe this now and forevermore.”
His mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, who is in jail for killing her boyfriend, also submitted an emotional statement where she described her final conversation with Arthur.
She told how he was "the most excited" she had ever heard him as he would be seeing her soon and wanted to know how many packets of Drumstick Squashies she had for him.
The mum added: "How has losing my only child Arthur affected my life? It's impossible to put into words what losing Arhur has done to me.
"It hasn't affected my life, it has destroyed my life. Arthur alone was my life, my purpose and reason for living."
Labinjo-Halcrow also said is "heartbroken" at the thought of her boy's body lying in a "cold box" as he has not had a funeral yet.
She added: "Sleep well my angel, you are truly loved."
Little Arthur was segregated for 14 hours a day and forced to sleep on the floor in a brutal struggle that matched the “medical definition of child torture”.
He was also poisoned with so much salt he was too weak to even put up a fight against his torturers' horrific abuse.
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.
As well as suffering 93 areas of injury, Arthur also had 25 sites of bruising on his scalp, face, and neck that raised “serious concerns about non-accidental injury”.
The youngster was also found to have 20 areas of bruising on his arms and eight on his chest and stomach.
Chillingly, his final months on earth were captured in harrowing audio clips and recordings made by Tustin and Hughes.
Arthur could be heard wailing in one 23-second recording "no one loves me" and "no one is going to feed me".
Video footage also showed Arthur hours before he died waking up on the living room floor.
The emaciated youngster was said to be so frail he could barely pick up his bedding.
In his closing speech, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said Tustin and Hughes carried out a "systematic course of conduct designed to terrorise, degrade, neglect and harm Arthur physically and psychologically".
He added: "Together they denigrated and debased him, they dehumanised him."
A serious case review has now been launched following the "terrible tragedy", Solihull Council confirmed.
It can also be revealed Tustin was already known to children’s services over previous concerns of domestic violence.
And the mum had a police reprimand for battery when she was aged 14 as well as a caution for shoplifting when aged 16.
Boris Johnson's spokesman said today: "The Prime Minister found the details of this case deeply disturbing. His thoughts are with those who loved Arthur.
"No child should ever suffer in the way that he did. And it's clear there are questions that need to be answered to get to the bottom of how this happened."
Arthur’s gran’s heartbreaking statement in full
"I write this on behalf of my family and with their authority.
"Arthur was the sunlight in all our lives, bringing joy, laughter and love to all of us. His death has turned the colour in our lives into a perpetual grey. Whilst our cherished and much loved 11-year-old granddaughter brings us joy and laughter, there is always the reminder that there should be double the joy, laughter and happiness, with the additional reminder that, as our granddaughter grows and blossoms into a young lady, Arthur is always missing in physical form, but never forgotten and remains constantly in our thoughts with the knowledge that any special moments in our lives will be forever tainted with forlorn contemplations.
"Throughout this trial I have heard of Arthur’s challenging and disruptive behaviour. We, as a family, want it recorded that the Arthur we knew was the model of a happy, joyous, exuberant and loving six-year-old and we will always remember him so. He bought laughter and happiness to those who loved him and he reflected that love and joy back to those who treasured him.
"Arthur’s death has had a devastating impact on all our lives, not least my 11-year-old granddaughter who, when told of Arthur’s death had her innocent view of the world shattered and now knows the stark and harsh reality of life, despite my eldest son and his partner striving avidly to avoid this so early in her life.
"My two younger sons, who are young men were, until Arthur’s devastating death, embarking on their own life journey, have now stood still in life, with thoughts or dreams of having their own children ripped from them as they are struggling to see a life containing joy and peace.
"They now have to carry with them a lifetime of anguish that no person should have to bear. I have also noted the complete lack of remorse, concern and sympathy shown by Miss Tustin throughout this trial. At no time have I heard evidence of her asking about Arthur and/or his condition, only her complete disdain and inconvenience of the situation, however I note several times she thought it appropriate to bring to the attention of others Arthur’s behaviour as if to justify her actions.
"The only pity she has shown is for herself and never once has she apologised for Arthur’s passing whilst in her sole care.
I have also listened to barbed comments by a witness that the death of Arthur did not affect him, which is sickening and abhorrent. It is clear from Miss Tustin’s evidence we, as a family will not have a definite answer or explanation of how Arthur died, yet another burden we will shoulder for our lifetime.
"It is also clear from the evidence that I have heard that Arthur was failed by the very authorities that we, as a society, are led to believe are there to ensure the safety of everyone. As a mother and grandmother it is with a profound despondency that I have failed in my sole purpose to keep my loved ones safe and ensure their life is filled with only joy, happiness and contentment.
"This, woefully, is no longer the case for any of us and it is with a heavy heart that we have all realised this will never ever be the case again.
"Finally, we as a family, are emphatic that Arthur would be alive today, a happy, contented, thriving, seven-year-old with the opportunity to reach his full potential during his lifetime, if Tom had not met Emma Tustin.
"We believe this now and for evermore."
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