Although further contact was made with Hughes by social workers after the photos were received, there was no more engagement with the family by the authorities.
Two separate referrals had been made at the same time by Arthur’s paternal grandmother; one to West Midlands police, and one to social services, with the latter relating to “unexplained” bruising to Arthur’s back.
It turns out West Midlands Police proved every bit as effective as the Met in the Baby P case. In fact, this case has startling echos of that case.
“It’s certainly the worst [child abuse case] I’ve had to investigate,” said DI Laura Harrison from West Midlands police, who led the case. “We don’t often see what goes on behind closed doors, but on this occasion we did.”
Sadly, it was after the fact. Because despite the supposed 'tightening up' after Baby P, it's always too little, too late...and here come the expected case reviews:
A review of the role of social services is under way, while an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct is expected to report back shortly.
Which will no doubt exonerate all involved, and blame covid, despite the fact that the only interest the police showed in holding anyone to account was when they got heavy with the relatives trying to get them to do thair job:
Arthur died on June 16, 2020 after suffering an 'unsurvivable head injury'. These are the four key chances the authorities missed to avert the tragedy:
ONE - Arthur's grandmother, Joanne Hughes, called social services on April 16 to say she had seen the youngster covered in bruises. However, social workers failed to spot them during a visit to his home.
TWO - On April 20, Joanne also told Arthur's school what she had seen. A member of staff called social services but was told the bruises had been caused by 'play'.
THREE - Arthur's uncle, Daniel Hughes, reports his concerns to police but is threatened with arrest if he tries to go back to the youngster's home.
FOUR - John Dutton, Emma Tustin's stepfather, makes an anonymous call to social services weeks before Arthur's death.
Having no doubt learned that contacting the police makes you the target...
Solihull's £122,294 Director of Children's Services at the time, Louise Rees, 60, left in August before the trial began. Rees' LinkedIn profile boasts that she is now 'retired and loving it'.
Well, of course she is. She's a serial bolter, after all, as we now learn:
The career civil servant also left her previous job at Stoke City Council, where she was the £140,000-a-year director of children and family services, a week before it too was lambasted for serious failings.
It's deja vu all over again, isn't it?