A jury heard a father accused of murdering his six-year-old son sent a message that he would “take his f***ing jaw straight off his shoulders”.
Prosecutors allege that Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was killed by his father, 29-year-old Thomas Hughes, and his 32-year-old girlfriend, Emma Tustin, last June by poisoning them with salt and subjecting them to months of abuse.
On the second day of the trial at Coventry Crown Court, jurors were shown WhatsApp messages between the accused couple. They were also played dozens of audio recordings from Tustin’s mobile phone of Arthur crying, and were shown pictures of him hurting his shoulders.
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC showed pre-lockdown photos of Arthur, one at McDonald’s and one playing in a park.
He read excerpts from a message in which Hughes reacted to an audio clip, saying: “I’ll deal with it when I’m home and it ain’t pretty.”
It was then suggested in a message that Arthur be “fucked out” before Tustin described the boy as being “on one”.
Hughes is said to have replied: “It won’t happen when I take his **** jaw straight off his shoulders”.
Another message from Tustin, sent on May 23 last year, read: “I don’t think I can do it any more. He is silent as he comes through the door. He is malicious, cruel and generally terrifying.”
A video filmed by Tustin the next day, which lasted more than a minute, showed Arthur sitting on a tiled floor, wearing a Batman T-shirt, as he slapped himself in the face and in a kicking motion. He raised his foot on his head. After a photo of Arthur was sent, Hughes said: “He is an absolute disgrace. This is not my son.”
Arthur was placed under his father’s care after his mother was imprisoned for the murder of his lover. Jurors had previously heard that he had been murdered three months after his father had moved into Tustin’s home on Cranmore Road, Solihull, West Midlands.
Tustin is accused of killing Arthur by banging his head on a hard surface while living alone in his home.
Prosecutors claim he immediately brought his phone to take a picture of the dying child but did not call 999 for 12 minutes. He is said to have told doctors that Arthur “fell and banged his head and hit his head on the floor five more times”. She said in the phone call that Arthur treated her and Hughes “like a s***”, Mr. Hankin said.
Hughes and Tustin have both been charged with child cruelty as well as manslaughter for salting Arthur between June 1 and 17 last year.
They deny the allegations. The trial is ongoing and will hear more evidence next week.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /