Like most people, I suspect, I've become a little bit immune to the daily dose of mindless violence which besmirches our newspapers and TV screens. On the other hand, like most people who've read or heard about it, I find the cruelty inflicted upon poor six-year old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes almost defies belief. How anyone could do something like that - least of all his parents - is certainly beyond my comprehension: it's so far outside the range of normal human behaviour that you couldn't make it up (not that anyone would want to make something like up, although the wicked stepmother apparently tried to claim during her trial that people were making chunks of it up). It made depressing, harrowing reading , raising the question "What the hell were those people thinking of??" To which, of course the answer is "Themselves!" They certainly weren't at any point thinking of poor Arthur, that's for sure.
In a lovely tribute to his short life, football fans up and down the country yesterday broke into applause and wore T-shirts with "We love you, Arthur" in reference to his plaintive cry of "No-one loves me", captured on video during the last day of his life. Less convincing is the government's announcement of a "no stone unturned" review of what went so tragically wrong, because clearly something did and although this is certainly the worst case of child cruelty that I can remember reading about, it sadly isn't the first, and they keep happening despite officialdom's attempts to stop them from happening again. Will this time be any different?
At least the jail terms of 29 and 21 years apiece will have got justice of a sort for Arthur, so props to the West Midlands Police for building such a strong case and securing the conviction of two such determined and manipulative liars. I don't believe they thought they were going to get caught. I'm quite sure neither of them envisaged they were gonna be put on trial for murder, found guilty and sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in jail for what they'd done! R.I.P Arthur.