29th July 2022

Whole life orders – guideline case

Mary Prior KC and Paul Prior

On the 29th July 2022 the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in respect of five co-joined cases which consisted of two Attorney General references and four appeals against sentence. The case is entitled R v Ian Stewart, Wayne Cousins, R v Emma Tustin, R v Thomas Hughes, the Attorney General’s References against Jordan Monaghan, Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes.

The case gives significant guidance as to the approach to be taken by Courts when sentencing in cases of murder which might attract a whole life order. It is considered that the case will be a guideline case.

Emma Tustin was convicted of the murder of Arthur Labinjo Hughes following significant cruelty towards him which included assaults, salt poisoning, prolonged and forced standing, isolating him from his extended family. After her conviction she was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years. There was public outcry at the sentence and a petition to increase the sentence to a whole life order. The Attorney General and the Solicitor General referred the case to the Court of Appeal arguing that the sentence was unduly lenient. Following legal argument the Court of Appeal determined that her sentence was not unduly lenient and adequately reflected her criminality. The Court gave guidance as to when a whole life order should be imposed.

Mary Prior QC represented Emma Tustin at trial leading Katya Saudek and Paul Prior. Mary Prior QC led Paul Prior in the Court of Appeal. Instructions in this case were received from Vienna Kang Advocates, Birmingham.

An article about the case will be published in the 36 Crime newsletter in August.

Read more here and here.

Further information

For more information from the crime team, contact clerks@36crime.co.uk