Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Dad and partner guilty of killing six-year-oldon December 2, 2021 at 4:42 pm

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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died of a head injury after being starved, tortured and neglected by the pair.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Image source, Family handout

A father and his partner have been found guilty of the killing of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The boy was starved and tortured by Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin, eventually dying of a head injury while in the care of his stepmother.

Tustin shook him and banged his head on a hard surface after poisoning him with salt, the court heard.

At Coventry Crown Court, Tustin was convicted of murder and Hughes found guilty of manslaughter.

The pair were also convicted of child cruelty charges.

Following the verdicts, the judge excused the jury from sitting on another jury for life and the jury asked if they could hold a minute’s silence in memory of Arthur, which they were allowed to do.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes

Image source, West Midlands Police

While Tustin was accused of carrying out the fatal assault by violently shaking him and repeatedly banging Arthur’s head on a hard surface after poisoning him with a “salt slurry”, Hughes was “complicit in the violence,” prosecutors had told jurors.

Despite medical evidence suggesting there was no way Arthur could have self-inflicted his fatal injuries, Tustin maintained she was not responsible.

She took a photograph of Arthur on her mobile phone as he lay dying in the hallway, sending the image to Hughes, the court heard.

She then took 12 minutes to call 999, lying to medics that Arthur “fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times”, later claiming he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence he was barely strong enough to pick up his own bedding.

Although he was not present for the alleged fatal assault on Arthur, prosecutors argued Hughes was equally culpable as he “encouraged” violence against his son, as well as dealing out beatings himself.

Still from video recorded on an internal CCTV camera in the property's lounge which was shown to the jury at Coventry Crown Court

Image source, West Midlands Police

The court previously heard Hughes made a number of threats towards his son, including to “put him six feet under”, and had also sent Tustin messages such as “just end him”.

In court, the pair had been described by prosecutors as “utterly ruthless, unthinking and pitiless”.

Speaking after the verdicts, Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, called them “wicked” and “evil” and described their behaviour as “unfathomable”.

“I think they are cold, calculating, systematic torturers of a defenceless little boy. They’re wicked, evil. There’s no word for them, especially your own child,” she said.

Tustin, 32, of Cranmore Road in Shirley, had admitted two counts of child cruelty which accused her of intimidation and assaults. but denied a third count alleging she poisoned Arthur with salt-laced drinks and meals.

Hughes, 29, denied three counts of child cruelty in addition to a murder charge.

An independent review is now under way into the authorities’ contact with Arthur before his death.

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