Jim Parker: The murder of Little Arthur - a tragedy which brought tears to my eyes

Torbay councillor

Steve Darling - Credit: Submitted

I have been in this game for almost 50 years. Part of my career included covering crime.

I have had to report on some pretty terrible and horrible things during that time including murders, kidnaps, road crashes, armed sieges and even an IRA terror cell.

You try not to think too much or get over-close to the cases you are covering. That was my way of coping.

But in all that time I have never been as moved, shocked and distressed by the callous and totally unbelievable murder of a little and innocent by called Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The horrendous case has made headlines around the world.

The actions of his killers Thomas Hughes (his father) and Emma Tustin (his father’s partner) are beyond words.

I only caught the tail end of the report on the national TV news. Thank heavens I did. That was enough for me.

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A video was shown of this poor defenceless, six-year-old boy all alone in his bedroom barely able to stand because of the beating he has just had. It almost makes me want to cry just writing about.

Was there really a need to show this? I fear sensationalism drives part of the industry in which I work and it shames me.

Heaven forbid anything like this ever happening in the Bay where purely coincidentally strides are being made to win the Bay 'child friendly' status.

Council leader Steve Darling is leading the drive and process. Steve was adopted so knows from personal experience how crucial jt is that children are brought up in a safe and loving environment just as he was.

And he says we all have a part to play in that not just social workers and the statutory bodies.

He says: "Social services might be the decision makers but we all have a responsibility here. If you have any concerns about a child it should be reported and investigations can be done."

In Torbay's children's services there are independent reviewing officers who are constantly reviewing cases to see how 'professional judgement' is being developed.

Steve said: "This is all our responsibility. It is our responsibility to support children and say when you think something is wrong.

"You cannot just sit back and be quiet about it."

Aa for the news coverage? Steve can remember jury service a few yeas ago when had to sit and listen to the graphic and disturbing details of a sex abuse  case.

He says: "It was extremely unpleasant and it the same as I felt with this coverage."

Please, please let some lessons be learned from this tragic case.

RIP little Arthur. I will never forget you.