Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Dad and partner found guilty of killing six-year-old son

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ITV News Central Reporter Callum Watkinson reports on the eight-week murder trial of six-year-old Arthur


A father has been found guilty of the manslaughter of his six-year-old son Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and his partner has been found guilty of murder after they subjected the boy to months of physical abuse.

Thomas Hughes, 29, has also been found guilty of mistreating Arthur by forced standing and isolating him in the family home and from extended family.

Hughes and his partner , 32-year-old Emma Tustin, were also found guilty of physically and verbally intimidating him.

The court heard the pair forced Arthur to endure "systematic, cruel behaviour" of "physical and psychological" abuse in the weeks before his death.

Emma Tustin (left) and her partner Thomas Hughes have been found guilty of killing Arthur Labinjo-Hughes Credit: West Midlands Police

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”.

"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," said the grandmother.

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.

Thomas Hughes (left), Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (centre) and Emma Tustin (right)

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.

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

Six-year-old Arthur struggling to pick up a duvet in the living room hours before his death Credit: West Midlands Police Handout

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.

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.

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.