The father of a six-year-old boy and his stepmother were found guilty of murdering the minor, subjecting him to recurrent torture during his last months of life and poisoning him with salt beyond the limits tolerable by his body.
Those implicated in the horrendous case that shook the Birmingham, England region are Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, who undertook a sick “campaign of cruelty” against the little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes during the last months of his life.
The facts surrounding the death of the minor were revealed in a trial where it was known that among the torture to which Arthur was subjected, It was leaving him without food for up to 14 hours a day and forcing him to sleep on the floor.
Shortly before his death, reports indicate that the boy was not even able to stand up, much less fight the horrific abuse from his so-called caretakers.
Tustin, “The evil one”, as it was described in court, was convicted of murder, while Hughes, the “ruthless” father of the minor, he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The couple were also found guilty of multiple counts of child cruelty after six and a half hours of deliberation by the jury who heard the case.
“I think they are cold, calculating, systematic torturers of a helpless little boy. They are wicked, wicked. There is no word for them, especially your own son ”, said after the verdicts, Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow.
Arthur had been left in his father’s care after his biological mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 26, was imprisoned with a sentence of 18 years for stabbing her boyfriend to death. At first Thomas Hughes was a suitable caregiver for his son, but when he began a relationship with Emma Tustin everything changed, unfortunately for the little boy.
Tustin did not want Arthur, whom he relegated from food, water and place to sleep, putting his own children above. Something that got worse when last year’s pandemic shutdown caused Thomas to move the boy into Emma’s house.
From there what was once a happy child became one withdrawn and sad, receiving constant abuse from his stepmother that were even recorded in cruel videos and photos that Tustin made as a mockery and that were shown to the jury during the trial.
In some you see the woman pushing to Arthur down the stairs, leading him out of the room to sleep on the floor and denying him food.
In one the child himself says: “Dad is going to throw me out the window, Dad is going to throw me out the window, Dad is going to throw me out the window.”
And in another sob “Nobody loves me” and “Nobody is going to feed me.”
The young man even became too weak to even raise a glass of water to his chapped lips.
In his closing remarks, Prosecutor Jonas Hankin said that Tustin and Hughes conducted a “Systematic course of conduct designed to terrorize, degrade, neglect, and harm Arthur physically and psychologically.” “Together they denigrated and degraded him, dehumanized him”, added.
His father also took part in torture and ill-treatment: applied pressure to his neck using techniques learned from watching videos about police brutality in the United States.
He also cruelly deceived his son by pretending that he was going to visit his grandparents, a place where “He had felt safe”, but he never made the trip.
Hughes also ripped up his beloved soccer jersey from the Birmingham City And he did wear a suffocating onesie for days during a heat wave.
Horrified witnesses said Hughes was “Rude” and “aggressive” with Arthur. He also threatened “rip him off“Head to his six-year-old son and”use it as a soccer ball ”the day before he was killed.
The couple used to send cruel text messages in which they referred to the little boy with hatred. In one of them Hughes told Tustin to dig his son’s grave and “gag him with a rope and a sock.”
He also threatened “Take the damn jaw off his shoulders.”
Meanwhile, Tustin branded his stepson as “Satan” and “Hitler” in hundreds of aggressive messages
The day Arthur died, his father had sent a message to his partner: “Take it out, take it out with the trash.”
Hughes was shopping on June 16 of last year looking for a cake for Tustin’s birthday when his son was attacked by the woman.
The stepmother he beat Arthur to death and then waited 13 minutes to call 999 and tell them that the young man was “barely breathing” after he “hit the ground with his head.”
As the wounded child lay dying, she took a photo of her lifeless body in the hallway and texted the “balloon lady” about her birthday.
Paramedics arrived at the house and found Arthur “Lying on his back, completely lifeless, quite pale with purple lips.”
He was rushed to hospital, but tragically could not be saved and died the next day. The cause of death was described as a “Head injury inflicted by an adult”, consisting of being “vigorously shaken and repeatedly hitting the head against a hard surface”.
Doctors discovered that he had more than six tablespoons of salt in his system, the highest level a doctor had ever seen. The amount was so substantial that the hospital initially believed its machinery was out of order.
In addition to suffering 93 areas of injury, Arthur also had 25 bruising sites on his scalp, the face and neck that raised “serious concerns about non-accidental injuries.”
The young man was also found to have 20 areas of bruising on the arms and eight on the chest and stomach.
“I’m not sure that, outside of obvious and traumatic situations, I’ve seen a child found dead at home with this many head and face injuries,” Arthur’s treating physician told jury.
When questioned by the police, Hughes admitted that he had “Turned into a monster” and had gone “too far” by hurting his son.
He also asked a doctor to “I apologized to Arthur on his behalf to tell him I was sorry” when they told him that nothing could be done to save the child.
Hughes told police he should have treated his son “As a child rather than a prisoner” and revealed how Arthur said, “I’m in danger with you.”
For his part, Tustin pleaded not guilty and argued at trial that Arthur had “He butted his head against a table and was knocked unconscious.”
But the jurors saw through their lies and they were both convicted of a series of crimes. Twisted Tustin and Hughes will be sentenced at a later date.
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