THIS is the chilling moment a stepmum who murdered a six-year-old boy tried to blame the little boy for casing his own injuries.
Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, waged a sick “campaign of cruelty” against Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in his tragic final months, a court heard.
Emma Tustin told a police officer that six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes headbutted the floor Credit: CPS
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and father Thomas
Emma Tustin has been found guilty of murder
They were found guilty today of killing little Arthur who was poisoned and tortured to death.
“Wicked” Tustin was convicted of murder while “pitiless” Hughes was found guilty of manslaughter.
Police bodycam footage released by the CPS shows Tustin telling an officer that Arthur “headbutted the floor three times”.
She then claims the little boy “banged his head three or four times” as she cries crocodile tears in a second clip while speaking to the officer.
Tustin said: “He dropped his head again as I tried to pick him up and he headbutted the floor three times.
“He banged his head three or four times. Obviously then I just picked him up. He knocked himself unconscious. I picked him up, put him on the sofa, poured water in his mouth.”
Tustin is then heard accusing little Arthur of “battering his dad” and “smashing this house to pieces”.
The trial heard Arthur was segregated for 14 hours a day and forced to sleep on the floor in a brutal struggle that matched the “medical definition of child torture”.
He was also poisoned with so much salt he was too weak to even put up a fight against his torturers' horrific abuse.
Tustin “assaulted” Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, causing an “unsurvivable brain injury”, the court heard.
She told 999 Arthur had knocked himself out by headbutting the floor after she battered him.
Tustin then waited 13 minutes to call 999 and tell them the youngster was “barely breathing” after he “headbutted the floor”, jurors heard.
The audio clip of the call was played to Coventry Crown Court in October.
In it, Tustin says: “We've been having a little bit of trouble with him for the last couple of months.
“Basically he's threw himself on the floor, he's headbutted the floor. I'm trying to pick him up in the process. He's headbutted me in the process.”
Tustin is then heard saying there was a “big bang” and Arthur “knocked himself out”.
She also claimed there is a “lump on his head” that he had “done to himself”, the court heard.
Tustin was accused of inflicting the fatal blow at 2.29pm on June 16 last year before calling 999 at 2.42pm.
Just minutes later she texted the “balloon lady” about her birthday balloons before taking a picture of stricken Arthur lying in a hallway, it is said.
She then messaged Arthur's dad Thomas Hughes, saying: “Just copped me in the stomach he has thrown himself all over the floor won't get up for s*** I've shut the door on him.”
Jurors were shown CCTV of her carrying the “limp” youngster into the living room.
Arthur died in hospital the next day with a cause of death given as a “head trauma inflicted on him by an adult” consistent with being “vigorously shaken and his head banged repeatedly against a hard surface”.
He was subjected to a “campaign of cruelty” before his death that matched the “medical definition of child torture”, the court heard.
Doctors found he had been “poisoned with salt” and had suffered extensive bruising over his frail body, jurors were told.
He was also “segregated and isolated” for “up to 14 hours a day” and deprived of a bed, food and clothing.
The court heard from witnesses who told how Hughes threatened to “rip” his six-year-old son's head off and “use it as a football” on the day he collapsed.
Catherine Milhench told the court the boy looked “skeletal” and claimed she could see his “collar bones sticking out” through his pyjama onesie.
She also said she saw Arthur stumble as he left as he was “physically weak” but said his dad and stepmum “just stood there”.
Her partner Tobias Jarman told jurors Arthur looked “malnourished” when he saw him during the visit to his house on June 16 last year.
The witness, who “snuck” the boy a glass of water, described Arthur's appearance as: “Lips dry, cracked lips. The build-up of plaque on his teeth was considerable.
“Dirty fingernails. He just looked quite grotty. As if he'd been out playing in the garden, that hadn't been the case. Just malnourished. Just unwell really.”
Mr Jarman said he “tried to reassure” Arthur as he gave him the water and told him he didn't have to be scared of him.
He added: “He look petrified. It was not the normal glow you see in a kid's eyes of that age.
“It looked like there was fear ingrained inside of there.”
The court was told Tustin recorded more than 22 pictures and videos of Arthur in distress.
Jurors watched CCTV of Tustin tucking into McDonald's while Arthur was left in a hallway for 14 hours and forced to sleep on the floor.
They have also previously heard audio clips Tustin recorded of Arthur sobbing while allegedly being abused.
The youngster can be heard weeping in another recording for his uncle Blake, saying: “Blake no-one loves me, Blake no-one loves me.”
He also cried in one clip: “Daddy's going to throw me out the window, daddy's going to throw me out the window, daddy's going to throw me out of the window.”
'CAMPAIGN OF CRUELTY'
Tustin and Hughes were accused of multiple counts of child cruelty, after forcing Arthur to endure “systematic, cruel behaviour” of “physical and psychological” abuse in the weeks before his death.
Mr Hankin said: “Both defendants participated in a campaign of cruelty intended to cause Arthur significant harm and suffering.
“Violence and intimidation, both physical and verbal, were routine.
“Arthur’s visible injuries, his miserable physical condition and obvious despair provided each defendant with a daily reminder of the lengths to which the other would go to cause him harm.”
Jurors heard how Arthur's death came three months after his father had moved into Tustin's home.
Before the move, the youngster was “cherished by all” and lived a “stable” life with his father and extended family, in an annexe in the garden of Arthur's paternal grandparents.
He had been placed in his dad's care after his mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 26, was jailed for 18 years for stabbing her boyfriend to death.
In April 2020, it emerged children's social services and police were alerted by his grandmother to concerns about Arthur's care.
Family had seen bruises on Arthur's back, and he said Tustin had “called him an ugly, horrible brat” and shoved him headfirst into the stairs.
After children's services saw Arthur on April 17, “no concerns were raised”, and while photos of the bruises were sent to the police, no further action was taken.
Twisted Tustin and Hughes will be sentenced on a later date.
Post mortem tests revealed Arthur died from a head injury
Examinations showed Arthur had 'extensive bruising over all parts of his body' Credit: Facebook
He died three months after moving in to Tustin's home Credit: BPMInternet Explorer Channel Network