A six-year-old boy who died from sustaining an unsurvivable brain injury after a fatal collapse has been heard on recordings crying “no one loves me”.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes suffered a fatal collapse while in the home of his 32-year-old stepmother, Emma Tustin, and later died in hospital.
Tustin and Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, are both on trial currently for the murder of the six-year-old, as well as multiple counts of child cruelty.
In new recordings made public, Arthur can be heard crying “no one loves me” and “no one’s gonna feed me”.
Father and stepmother accused of murder and neglect
Hughes and Tustin are accused of force-feeding Arthur salt-laced meals, keeping him isolated in the home with no water or food and routinely beating the six-year-old up.
There are also text messages traced from Hughes, sent to Tustin saying “dig Arthur’s grave” and “kid’s getting ended when I get back.”
The court has heard that Arthur allegedly did not have his own bed in the house and slept on the lounge floor without a mattress.
Arthur died while he and Hughes were staying at Tustin’s home in Solihull, West Midlands during the first lockdown.
Tustin has claimed that the head injury which led to Arthur’s death was self-inflicted.
She added that he may have thrown himself down the staircase in her hallway, where he was neglected for “12 to 14 hours” per day as part of a behaviour routine implemented by the couple.
Jurors at Coventry Crown Court heard that the young boy had 130 injuries, including 30 on his head and neck.
Prosecutors have described the couple’s actions as a “campaign of cruelty” akin to “torture”.
Audio recordings released
More than 200 audio recordings of Arthur while he was being punished were submitted to the court, which Tustin accepted.
The recordings were allegedly made to show Hughes how his son was behaving.
In one of the recordings which have been made public, Arthur could be heard crying and repeating the phrase “no one loves me” four times during the 23-second clip.
In another 44-second clip, he could be heard saying “no one’s gonna feed me” seven times.
Arthur looked ‘broken’ after moving in
The jury has heard from one witness who described Arthur as looking “ broken” shortly after moving into Tustin’s Solihull home.
They have also been shown footage from an internal CCTV camera from inside the lounge showing Arthur struggling to pick up and put away his pillow and blanket.
In the footage, it took the young boy 28 second to get to his knees then his feet, with an expression of pain on his face.
A video showing Arthur weak and frail just hours before his collapse was also shown.
Hughes, who is accused of aiding the killing of Arthur and also faces three counts of child cruelty, denies any wrongdoing.
Tustin has admitted to one count of child cruelty but denied two similar charges.
The trial, which is currently adjourned, continues at Coventry Crown Court.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.