Death – Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Father and girlfriend found guilty over death of six-year-old boy | UK News

Death – Obituary

A “wicked” stepmother and a “pitiless” father have been convicted of abusing and killing his six-year-old son.

Emma Tustin, 32, was unanimously convicted of murdering Arthur Labinjo-Hughes at Coventry Crown Court.

Her partner and Arthur’s father, 29-year-old Thomas Hughes, was found guilty of manslaughter, after his son suffered an “unsurvivable brain injury” on 16 June 2020.

Warning: This story contains distressing details about the treatment and subsequent death of a little boy

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes can be seen waking up and attempting to carry his duvet out of the room, clearly in severe distress.
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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes can be seen waking up and attempting to carry his duvet out of the room, clearly in severe distress

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”.

She also described the couple’s behaviour, which included Tustin poisoning the youngster by force-feeding him salt-laced meals, as “unfathomable”.

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were found guilty of abusing and killing Hughes' six-year-old son
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Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were found guilty of abusing and killing Hughes’ six-year-old son

“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 added.

Tustin carried out the fatal assault while in sole care of Arthur at her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, taking a photograph of the youngster on her mobile phone as he lay dying in the hallway, then sending the image to Hughes.

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Murder stepmum lies to police

She then took 12 minutes to call 999, instead first ringing Hughes, then lying to medics that Arthur “fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times”.

Tustin later claimed he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence he was barely strong enough to pick up his own bedding, or stand.

Undated family handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes as his father Thomas Hughes, 29, and 32-year-old stepmother Emma Tustin both deny murdering him after he died in hospital from an unsurvivable brain injury after what prosecutors claimed was a "campaign of cruelty", amounting to "torture". Issue date: Wednesday November 24, 2021.
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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Hughes, of Stroud Road, Solihull, was convicted of encouraging the killing, including by sending a text message to Tustin 18 hours before the fatal assault telling her “just end him”, then later saying to his son “Watch you little c***, I’ll bury you six feet under”.

It emerged during the trial that Arthur’s mother had herself been jailed for stabbing her own partner to death in a drink and drug-fuelled rage.

The youngster had been placed in the care of Tustin and Hughes after Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow was jailed for 11 years.

On one occasion before his death, Arthur told his father: “I am in danger with you, dad”.

'You are loved Arthur' - a poster has been put up at the six-year-old boy's home
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‘You are loved Arthur’ – a poster has been put up at the six-year-old boy’s home

Jurors also convicted Tustin of two counts of child cruelty, including salt-poisoning and withholding food and drink from Arthur.

She had already admitted two other cruelty counts; wilfully assaulting Arthur on three occasions and isolating him, including by forcing him to stand in the hallway for up to 14 hours a day as part of a draconian punishment regime.

Tustin claimed she had not realised at the time how bad the abuse was even though texts proved that Arthur was deliberately moved away from his punishment “step” beside the front door when his grandmother delivered post.

During Tustin’s evidence, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said it was clear from the tone of her commands to Arthur that she had “relished” being cruel towards him.

It has since emerged that Tustin had “salt thrown at her” by other inmates while on remand at HMP Peterborough for her trial, and has been threatened with violence by other prisoners.

Hughes, who had denied any wrongdoing, was also convicted of the cruelty offences which Tustin had admitted – but cleared of withholding food and drink, or of poisoning his own son with salt.

It emerged at trial that Arthur had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, after concerns were raised by his paternal grandmother Joanne Hughes, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died during the COVID lockdown last year
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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died during the COVID lockdown last year
Undated family handout photo issued by West Midlands Police of bruises on Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' back, in April 2020, two months before his death. The photograph taken by his maternal grandmother prompted a referral to social services, however the bruises were put down to "play-fighting" with another youngster. Issue date: Wednesday November 24, 2021.
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Arthur had 130 injuries – old and new – with 30 on his head and neck alone. Pic: West Midlands Police

Jurors took six hours and 15 minutes to deliver verdicts, and afterwards held a minute’s silence in Arthur’s memory.

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

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What Is An Obituary

In national newspapers an obituary (obit for short) is a news article that reports the recent death of a prominent person. Although it tends to focus on positive aspects of the subject’s life this is not always the case. According to Nigel Farndale, the Obituaries Editor of The Times: “Obits should be life affirming rather than gloomy, but they should also be opinionated, leaving the reader with a strong sense of whether the subject lived a good life or bad; whether they were right or wrong in the handling of their public affairs.”

In local newspapers, an obituary may be published for any local resident upon death. A necrology is a register or list of records of the deaths of people related to a particular organization, group or field, which may only contain the sparsest details, or small obituaries. Historical necrologies can be important sources of information.