Susanna Reid was speaking to Wendy Thorogood of the Association of Child Protection Professionals about the tragic death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes
Susanna Reid admitted she was ‘stunned’ on Monday’s Good Morning Britain as she discussed the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.
Six-year-old Arthur tragically passed away in June last year after being subjected to horrific abuse at the hands of his father Thomas Hughes, 29, and his partner Emma Tustin, 32.
Susanna and her co-host Martin Lewis invited Wendy Thorogood of the Association of Child Protection Professionals onto the show to discuss the case and how social services dealt with it.
Martin began by asking her. “There are a lot of lessons to be learnt here Wendy, but I suppose if I start with the bigger question: Can we ever really stop this from happening again, is that at all possible?”
Wendy replied: “I think we have to believe that we can make a difference, but we do have to remember that up to 70 children – perhaps more – die each year, where we’re learning lessons and this is something that has gone on for many years and it is something that we are continually addressing.”
Susanna then joined in and said: “I want to ask you, because there were opportunities to save Arthur and it would not be true to say that his crimes went unneeded because his grandparents raised concerns, his uncle raised concerns and social services did visit. What is the procedure if I’m a grandparent and I’m concerned and I call social services?”
“As professionals they should be trained to be able to identify where there’s manipulation,” Wendy replied.
“Just one thing, I want to pick up on this bruising because clearly it was shared with social service and the photo was shared with police, and I’m not criticising her actions at all, but I would have liked if she actually had that child in front of her to actually seek medical intervention as well.
“Because at that moment in time you can take the photo, you can use that for evidence, but health are part of the system as well and that could have triggered a multi-system assessment quicker,” Wendy continued.
“When you say ‘she’ are you talking about the social worker?” Susanna quickly asked, as Wendy replied: “The grandmother. If she’s taken the photo… my plea for anyone out there who’s concerned about a child where there’s visible bruises is seek medical attention.”
Looking baffled, Susanna replied: “I’m so sorry to interrupt you, but she went to social services – are you saying that social services couldn’t intervene and therefore it was down the grandmother to seek further help?”
Wendy answered: “It would trigger an intervention, it triggered the actual point of a social worker going out but it’s the matter of delay and the severity of when that was seen and I wouldn’t disparage anyone of doing a referral.”
“I don’t understand why you’re suggesting the grandmother should have done more,” Susanna then said.
Wendy quickly fired back: “I want to really stress that I am not saying the grandmother could have done any more, but I’m just saying for future, if anyone sees any unusual bruising, seek medical intervention as well as sharing that with social care as that would trigger the process.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just stunned,” mother-of-three Susanna admitted. “Because I would have thought once you phoned social services, they’re the ones who trigger the process, they’re the ones with the responsibility, they’re the ones with the legal powers.
“And if you’re told as the grandmother, ‘actually it’s down to you’…”
“I didn’t say it’s down the grandmother, I’m saying at that moment in time the child could have been medically,” Wendy told Susanna.
“My words are being sort of slightly twisted, I’m just saying that would have prevented a delay.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV and ITV Hub.