Five notorious killers to have jail terms reviewed by senior judges

Five notorious killers will have their jail terms reviewed by senior judges at the same hearing: Wayne Couzens and the parents of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes are among prisoners under spotlight today

  • Judges will today hear challenges or appeals to the five killers’ prison sentences
  • Couzens handed whole-life term last year for rape and murder of Sarah Everard
  • Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who killed Arthur, also to have term reviewed 

Sarah Everard’s murderer Wayne Couzens today appeared by video-link at the Court of Appeal amid reviews of jail terms for him and four other killers.

Senior judges are due to hear challenges or appeals to the prison sentences of five killers, including the whole-life terms of disgraced former police officer Couzens and double murderer Ian Stewart.

A bearded Couzens, wearing a grey jumper, appeared via video-link from HMP Frankland ahead of the start of today’s hearing.

The special court of five judges will consider how whole-life orders – handed down in the most serious cases when a judge believes a criminal should never be considered for release – are imposed.

Thomas Hughes, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison for the manslaughter of his six-year-old son Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, joined the hearing via video-link from HMP Wakefield.

Jordan Monaghan, who was handed a minimum 40-year prison term after he murdered two of his children and his new partner, also joined remotely from the same prison.

The court heard that Emma Tustin, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years after being convicted of the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, and Ian Stewart, convicted of murdering his first wife six years before he went on to murder his fiancee, children’s book author Helen Bailey, declined to attend the hearing.

Five senior judges will today review the sentences of the five killers. Pictured: (left to right) Emma Tustin, Thomas Hughes, Ian Stewart, Wayne Couzens and Jordan Monaghan

At the start of the hearing, Tom Little QC, representing the Attorney General, told the court that ‘whilst the offending in these various cases differs markedly, one common feature of the applications is that either a whole life order was imposed, is challenged, or it was not’ and the attorney general was seeking one.

He said that the imposition of a whole life sentence required offending to be of ‘exceptionally high seriousness’ and was also subject to a judge’s ‘judgment and discretion’.

Mr Little said whole life orders could be lawfully handed to an offender ‘if just punishment and retribution requires it’.

Mr Little summarised the offending of Jordan Monaghan, describing it as being of ‘exceptionally high’ seriousness, with there being ‘no mitigation here at all’.

He told the court: ‘Over a seven-year period, this offender either killed … or attempted to murder four individuals.

‘Three of the victims were his own children, all the children were young or very young.

‘Underlying all of that, the clear rationale or intention behind these offences was to try to distract his then partner from his gambling habit and maintain control over her despite her repeated attempts to free herself from him.’

Mr Little added of one of Monaghan’s victims, Evie Adams: ‘If that was not enough, the third murder was one involving significant planning and preparation involving a painful death having, in short, been tricked to take strong forms of medication which ultimately killed her, and that was committed whilst on police bail.’

The review of the prison sentences is being held today at the Court of Appeal in London

Ex-Pc Couzens was handed a whole-life term last year for the rape and murder of Miss Everard, 33, after he abducted her in south London on March 3 2021.

Sentencing Couzens, Lord Justice Fulford said the circumstances of the case were ‘devastating, tragic and wholly brutal’ and were so exceptional that it warranted a whole-life order.

It was the first time the sentence had been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack. 

Tustin and Hughes, who killed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, are also expected to have their sentences reviewed.

Arthur suffered an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of Tustin, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years after assaulting the child on June 16 2020.

Arthur, whose body was also covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

His father, Hughes, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison for manslaughter, is due to appeal against his sentence.

Both sentences will be also challenged by Attorney General Suella Braverman under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

The minimum 40-year term handed to Monaghan after he murdered two of his children and his new partner will also be reviewed by the judges.

In December 2021 Monaghan was jailed after smothering his 24-day-old daughter Ruby as she slept in a Moses basket on New Year’s Day 2013.

Eight months later he smothered his 21-month-old son Logan, and six years after that he murdered his new partner, Evie Adams, with a drugs overdose.

Double murderer Ian Stewart, who was convicted of murdering his first wife six years before he went on to murder his fiancee, is also due to appeal against his whole-life order.

Stewart killed 51-year-old children’s book author Helen Bailey in 2016, and dumped her body in the cesspit of the £1.5 million home they shared in Royston in Hertfordshire.

A trial previously heard it was most likely she was suffocated while sedated by drugs, and Stewart was found guilty of her murder in 2017.

After this conviction, police investigated the 2010 death of Stewart’s first wife, Diane Stewart, 47.

The cause of her death was recorded at the time as sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, but in February Stewart was found guilty of her murder.

Couzens, 49, formerly of Deal, Kent, and Stewart, 61, previously of Royston, Hertfordshire, will attempt to appeal their whole-life orders.

Tustin, 32, previously of Cranmore Road, Solihull, and Monaghan, aged 30 at sentence and previously of Belgrave Close, Blackburn, will have their sentences challenged by the Attorney General’s Office as unduly lenient.

Hughes, 29, will attempt to appeal his sentence which is also being challenged by the Attorney General’s Office.

The hearing before the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Dame Victoria Sharp, Lord Justice Holroyde, Mr Justice Sweeney and Mr Justice Johnson started at 10.30am this morning.

The five judges are expected to give their decisions at a later date.

The five killers whose sentences are under review by judges today 

Wayne Couzens

Wayne Couzens

Ex-Pc Couzens was handed a whole-life term last year for the rape and murder of Miss Everard, 33, after he abducted her in south London on March 3 2021.

Sentencing Couzens, Lord Justice Fulford said the circumstances of the case were ‘devastating, tragic and wholly brutal’ and were so exceptional that it warranted a whole-life order.

It was the first time the sentence had been imposed for a single murder of an adult not committed in the course of a terror attack.

Couzens is currently housed at HMP Frankland in Durham. 

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes suffered an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of Tustin, who was jailed for life with a minimum term of 29 years after assaulting the child on June 16 2020.

Arthur, whose body was also covered in 130 bruises, died in hospital the next day.

His father, Hughes, who was sentenced to 21 years in prison for manslaughter, is due to appeal against his sentence.

Both sentences will be also challenged by Attorney General Suella Braverman under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

Tustin is currently housed at HMP Peterborough and Hughes at HMP Wakefield.

Jordan Monaghan

Jordan Monaghan

The minimum 40-year term handed to Jordan Monaghan after he murdered two of his children and his new partner will also be reviewed by the judges.

In December 2021 Monaghan was jailed after smothering his 24-day-old daughter Ruby as she slept in a Moses basket on New Year’s Day 2013.

Eight months later he smothered his 21-month-old son Logan, and six years after that he murdered his new partner, Evie Adams, with a drugs overdose.

Monaghan is currently housed at HMP Wakefield.

Ian Stewart

Ian Stewart

Double murderer Ian Stewart, who was convicted of murdering his first wife six years before he went on to murder his fiancee, is also due to appeal against his whole-life order.

Stewart killed 51-year-old children’s book author Helen Bailey in 2016, and dumped her body in the cesspit of the £1.5 million home they shared in Royston in Hertfordshire.

A trial previously heard it was most likely she was suffocated while sedated by drugs, and Stewart was found guilty of her murder in 2017.

After this conviction, police investigated the 2010 death of Stewart’s first wife, Diane Stewart, 47.

The cause of her death was recorded at the time as sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, but in February Stewart was found guilty of her murder.

The prison Stewart is currently serving his sentence at is unclear.

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