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After the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, time to focus on children still at risk | Gaby Hinsliff

There has been an outcry about schooling missed during the pandemic. We need a similar approach to keep the vulnerable safe

One by one, the brightly coloured helium balloons floated up into the wintry sky. They were released at the weekend outside the house in which six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was murdered, as a way of trying to show that he had been loved.

Of all the harrowing details to emerge from the trial of his stepmother, Emma Tustin, and his natural father, Thomas Hughes, the one that many parents will have found unbearable was a film of Arthur sobbing, “No one loves me.” He had been brave enough to try to tell grownups he trusted that something was wrong, and yet nobody came to save him. He must have felt, at the end, so abandoned. What makes this awful case so haunting is that it reminds us of what too many other children will have experienced when lockdown sealed them off from the outside world.

Gaby Hinsliff is a Guardian columnist

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