Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ mother is a convicted killer whose college education was ruined by alcohol


Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ mother, a college graduate, had herself been imprisoned for stabbing her own partner to death in a rage fueled by alcohol and drugs.

Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes, 29, and stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, were convicted of manslaughter and murder respectively on Thursday.

But it emerged during their trial at Coventry Crown Court that the youngster was only placed in the care of his father after his birth mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow was jailed for killing her boyfriend.

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She was described in court as a ‘smart woman’ who was ‘successful in school and attended college’ – but her life turned to alcohol, violence and, ultimately, murder.

Hughes and Labinjo-Halcrow had joint custody of their son, until he was arrested for killing 29-year-old delivery driver Gary Cunningham at their home in Frensham Way, Birmingham, in February 2019.

Labinjo-Halcrow’s conviction was later overturned after an appeal, but she was found guilty of manslaughter after a retrial at Birmingham Crown Court in July 2021 and sentenced to 11 years.

Judge Amanda Tipples, who handed down the sentence, described how Labinjo-Halcrow had told ‘lie after lie’ about his crime and showed no remorse.

Labinjo-Halcrow and Mr Cunningham, who met at an alcohol awareness class, “both drank too much and had mental health issues”, the judge said.

Mrs Justice Tipples said: ‘There were fights. Gary was violent with you and you were violent with Gary.

“It was not all one-sided.

“You were as bad as each other.

“You told lie after lie about the extent of the violence Gary inflicted on you.”

The court heard that Labinjo-Halcrow was seeing another man at the same time as Mr Cunningham, with neither man knowing about the other.

The judge told her: “You are a very manipulative, to get what you want with whom you want.”

Prior to the murder, in an incident in November 2018, Labinjo-Halcrow had stabbed Mr Cunningham in the arm while Arthur was in their flat.

Months later, in the fatal attack on February 23, 2019, his victim was stabbed four times: once in the chest and three more in the left leg, including a fatal blow behind the knee from a depth of 11cm.

Mrs Justice Tipples said: ‘Even though you were drunk and on drugs that morning, I’m sure you know what really happened.’

She added: “After you were arrested, you told them (the police) that he committed suicide.

“You were taken out of the apartment and walked past his dead body covered with a sheet.

“You didn’t show any emotion.

“You stepped over his corpse.”

Mrs Justice Tipples, finding there was no element of self-defence in her crime, told her: “You are a smart woman, who did well in school and attended university.

“You used this information to tell this jury a series of extensive and elaborate lies that you invented after you killed Gary in order to describe the relationship of which you had been the victim.”

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