Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s uncle says ‘cold and calculating’ stepmother was ‘domineering’ towards the six-year-old and his father and was the ‘catalyst in his murder’, court hears

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  • The boy was killed by the couple, who were said to have suffered abuse ‘made to terrorize’
  • Uncle Andrew Hughes told a court today about his relationship with the couple
  • Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes, 29, and stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, have denied murder.

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Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ uncle told a court today that the boy’s stepmother was “cold and calculating” and “dominant” and that she was the “catalyst in his murder.”

A six-year-old child from Solihull, West Midlands, is said to have been killed by the couple after suffering abuse ‘ready for terrorism’.

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The youth was allegedly denied food, parked in a hallway for 14 hours a day and poisoned with salt before fatally attacking his home in June 2020.

Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, allegedly subjected Arthur to “systematic, brutal treatment” that met the “medical definition of child torture.”

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Hughes and Tustin deny the murder. Tustin has admitted one count of child cruelty but denies three other counts. Hughes denies four counts of child cruelty.

Prosecutors claim six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was weakened by months of abuse, salt poisoning and starvation (pictured with Father Thomas)

Disturbing footage was shown to jurors on Tuesday at Coventry Crown Court, where Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin (pictured), 32, were charged with murdering Arthur at their home in Solihull, West Midlands, last June. Is.

Disturbing footage was shown to jurors on Tuesday at Coventry Crown Court, where Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin (pictured), 32, were charged with murdering Arthur at their home in Solihull, West Midlands, last June. Is.

A trial at Coventry Crown Court today found evidence from Arthur’s uncle, Andrew Hughes – brother of Thomas Hughes.

He told jurors that he believed the ‘cold, manipulative, calculating’ Tustin was the ‘controlling partner’ in the relationship, and the ‘catalyst’ of Arthur’s death.

Mr Hughes, 26, described the mother-in-law of four as “doing” towards both Hughes and Arthur.

She told the jurors: ‘If she didn’t find the things she liked, she would have made things difficult for everyone involved’.

Schoolboy Arthur died of ‘strange brain injuries’ while in Tustin’s care in June last year.

She is alleged to have killed Arthur using ‘very severe force’ at his council house near Solihull while she was alone with him.

Hughes is alleged to have “intentionally abetted” the murder. The pair are said to have “violence and intimidation” to Arthur under “brutal control conditions”.

It is claimed that he was poisoned with so much salt that when he was hospitalized with fatal brain injuries, physicians questioned his machinery.

Jurors were told how in February 2019 his mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcro, was in the full-time care of Arthur Hughes after he was accused of murdering his new partner, Gary Cunningham.

Hughes met Tustin on an online dating site in August 2019.

Giving evidence, Mr Hughes said he felt the relationship escalated ‘too quickly’ because ‘they didn’t know each other well’.

Describing his first meeting with Tustin, Mr Hughes said: ‘I tried to be friendly, I tried to introduce myself, I tried to laugh.

‘She was very, very cold. I got very little back from him.’

Hughes walks with Arthur to Tustin’s Council House in Cranmore Road, Shirley, when the country entered lockdown in March 2020.

It is alleged that Arthur was asked to stand in a hallway ‘all day, every day’ for 14 hours for six weeks.

Juries were played footage from the camera of a boy making a makeshift bed on the living room floor to a living room room.

Tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in CCTV footage shown to Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday

Tragic Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, attempts to pick up a duvet from the floor where he slept in CCTV footage shown to Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday

The jurors were previously told how Arthur (pictured) had been 'repeatedly poisoned with salt-contaminated food and liquids' under 'brutal control conditions'.

The jurors were previously told how Arthur (pictured) had been ‘repeatedly poisoned with salt-contaminated food and liquids’ under ‘brutal control conditions’.

The jury was previously told that Arthur’s family had raised concerns about social services two months before Arthur’s death. But no action was taken after home visit.

Mr Hughes told the court that when Arthur last saw the child a week before the lockdown, he looked “far more timid”.

He told the jurors: ‘[Arthur] seemed more aware that he might be in trouble.

It was this voice that Arthur sometimes made – he referred to it as his infant voice.

‘It was not an issue before, but it became an issue shortly after Miss Tustin arrived on the scene.’

He described how Hughes was ‘very open, very warm’ and ‘believed strongly in the family unit’ before meeting Tustin.

He said: ‘Tom’s behavior and mood changed a lot during the relationship, yes.

‘We’ll argue more in minutes, little things.’

When asked by Hughes’ barrister Bernard Richmond how Hughes appeared after meeting Tustin, Mr Hughes replied: ‘He went into his own family – with mom, dad and his brothers.

‘The ties got weaker and weaker, and he didn’t seem invested in keeping that structure strong.’

Injuries were found in 125 areas on Arthur’s body after he died of incurable brain injuries on June 16, 2020.

The boy is said to have been denied water and food and was ‘deprived of basic living’.

Prosecutors claim that Tustin shook and then banged her head on a hard surface while alone with her.

She claims that the young man died of self-inflicted injuries, which were refuted by medical experts.

Hughes is alleged to have “intentionally abetted” the murder.

The text messages sent to Tustin included remarks by Hughes to ‘fill her up’, ‘get her neck off her shoulders’ and ‘get messed up’.

The jurors were told that Tustin was also asked to ‘give him’ and ‘take him out of the trash’.

In a message sent 18 hours before Arthur’s alleged murder, Hughes told Tustin: ‘Just finish him’.

A witness claimed in court that Arthur was ‘too weak’ to even hold a glass of water in his mouth the day before the fall.

They also said that his clothes looked dirty, his lips were chapped, he could hardly open his mouth to speak, his hair was dirty, his nails were dirty and that he looked malnourished, unsightly and worn out .

Earlier in the trial, a medical expert said he believed Arthur was shaken and slammed with ‘very severe’ force.

Consultant neuropathologist Daniel du Plessis said the possibility of Arthur having suffered a fatal head injury on his own was ‘unthinkable’.

Beginning the trial, Mr Hankin told the jurors: ‘Both defendants participated in an act of cruelty intended to cause significant harm and suffering to Arthur.

‘Violence and threats, both physical and verbal, were regular.

‘Arthur’s visible injuries, his pitiful physical condition and apparent despair provided each defendant with a daily reminder of which other would go to harm him.’

Trial continues.

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