Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: 'Missed opportunities' in lead up to six-year-old's death heard during trial 

Credit: PA

Warning: Some readers may find this content distressing 

Six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' life was dramatically cut short following months of alleged "cruel torture", a murder trial heard last month. 

Arthur's dad and his stepmum, who are from the West Midlands, allegedly "dehumanised" and "terrorised" the six-year-old in the lead-up to his death last year. 

Emma Tustin, 32, and 29-year-old Thomas Hughes are accused of killing Arthur, who suffered fatal head injury on June 16 2020.

A post-mortem examination showed the young boy had suffered 125 separate injuries. And later tests revealed Arthur had also been “poisoned with salt” in the hours before his collapse

The court heard the pair carried out a "campaign of cruelty" amounting to "torture" against Arthur, in which he was force-fed salt-laced meals, kept isolated in the home, starved, dehydrated and routinely beaten.

CCTV released by West Midlands Police shows footage of Arthur struggling to pick up a duvet after sleeping in the living room, hours before his death. 


Footage seen in court shows Arthur appearing to struggle to lift up a duvet

This video contains distressing images

The footage, recorded on an internal CCTV camera in the property's lounge, shows the boy struggling to pick up and then put away his pillow and blanket after waking at 8.36am.It takes him 28 seconds to get to finally his feet, with an apparent expression of pain on his face throughout.What happened to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes? 

Arthur died after sustaining an "unsurvivable brain injury" on June 17 2020 while he was with his dad's partner's Tustin in her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, West Midlands.

Tustin claimed Arthur’s fatal head injury must have been self-inflicted, possibly caused by him throwing himself down the staircase in her hallway, and describing how she heard a “bang” and a “crack”.

She told the 999 call handler Arthur fell and banged his head and then while he was on the floor he banged his head another five times. 

His injuries were compared to those in a car crash

She allegedly fetched her mobile phone immediately afterwards to take a photograph of Arthur as he lay dying in the hallway of her home. 

Hughes, of Stroud Road, Solihull, is accused of murder by allegedly encouraging the killing, including by sending a text message to Tustin 18 hours before the fatal assault telling her “just end him”.Who reported Arthur's death to police? 

Despite having her phone, Tustin took 12 minutes to call 999, telling medics Arthur "fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times", the court heard. 

Cranmore Road in Shirley

What has the court heard about Arthur's stepmother? 

Tustin has admitted two counts of child cruelty during the trial, including carrying out three assaults on the boy and also making him sit or stand in her hallway for up to 14 hours a day. 

She has accepted making 200 audio recordings of Arthur, often crying and moaning during these punishments, claiming she did so only to send them to Hughes in order to demonstrate the boy’s "naughty" behaviour while he was absent.

Some of these extracts have been played to the court, including one in which the boy can be heard crying and pleading “no one loves me”, repeating the phrase four times. 

In another audio file, Arthur cries "No one's gonna feed me" seven times.

Social services 'didn't want to see' photos of bruises

Arthur's grandparent took a picture of the bruising on his skin and showed it to police Credit: PA

Social services "didn't want to see" pictures of Arthur's bruises months before death, jurors were told last month. 

Arthur's grandma, Joanne Hughes, took pictures of a large bruise on his shoulder in a failed attempt to show authorities that her grandson was in danger, Coventry Crown Court heard. But Ms Hughes said when she called social services and offered to send the picture they "didn't want to see" it.

When social workers visited the following day, the court heard they said the bruises were down to "child's play". 

Ms Hughes also said social workers recorded "no concerns".  

One of the social workers later told jurors she had noticed a "yellowing bruise" in the middle of Arthur's back when she visited. 

When she was later shown the picture Ms Hughes took, she was "shocked" at how she had failed to realise how extensive his injuries were.