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Arthur Labinjo Hughes

‘Dig Arthur’s Grave’: Dad’s Girlfriend Learns Fate After Beating 6-year-old, Forcing Him to Drink Salt & Lying to Social Services

The girlfriend of a young boy’s father will spend the rest of her life in prison for child abuse and murder.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, Thomas Hughes and his girlfriend, Emma Tustin, were accused of killing Hughes’ son, 6-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. The child died on June 17, 2020, from a brain injury allegedly caused by the defendants. Both defendants were on trial at the Coventry Crown Court in England.

Hughes blamed Tustin for the tragedy. During court late last month, Hughes claimed that Tustin mentally abused and gaslighted him during the times they were together. Hughes added that Tustin pushed him to carry abusive discipline routines against his son, including starving him, feeding him excessive amounts of salt, withholding water, and physically abusing him.

Throughout the trial, Tustin showed no remorse, according to DailyMail.

“You wanted Thomas Hughes so he could provide for you and your own children, but did not want to be troubled by Arthur any longer,” the judge said, adding that Tustin’s own children were not abused and led normal lives.

Tustin made a “salt slurry” that she force-fed to the boy, the court heard. She also physically abused him and made him wear a “fluffy onesie” in the heat for up to 15 hours a day, while standing.

After the boy died, Tustin immediately took a picture of him, the court heard, then later told police that Arthur attacked her and banged his head. Postmortem test results revealed that Arthur was poisoned with salt hours before he collapsed. He also had around 130 injuries on his body, including head trauma.

Tustin reportedly said that just because officials said he died from head trauma inflicted by an adult, “doesn’t make it true.”

Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes/Police Handout

Arthur was placed in his father’s care after the boy’s mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, was arrested for allegedly killing her new boyfriend in February 2019. Hughes and Arthur then moved into Tustin’s home in Solihull (West Midlands). The abuse allegedly began shortly after.

Arthur’s grandmother noticed the abuse, according to DailyMail, and contacted the police. Social workers went to the boy’s home a few months before his death but didn’t remove him.

Previous video coverage of Tustin blaming Arthur for his head injuries

Hankin told the court that Hughes and Tustin devised a plan to have Arthur lie to the social workers when they arrived to check on him.

Although both Hughes and Tustin deny murdering the victim, Hughes reportedly admitted that he applied pressure to Arthur’s neck after learning the technique through an Australian show.

He also admitted that he made his son stand hours alone in the hot sun while wearing a Onesie, and during another incident, made him stand alone in a hallway for 14 hours.

“You watched him decline from a happy, chubby, healthy, active boy to a desperately sad, thin, weak, miserable, child,” Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said during the trial.

Also during the trial, the prosecution played CCTV video footage that showed the young victim, barely able to walk after being abused, crying out for help.

DailyMail obtained footage of the video shown in court. The jurors were told that the video captured Arthur’s final hours before his death in June 2020, when he was so frail he could barely lift his own blanket.

Warning: Video could be distressing to some viewers

Hughes said he wasn’t aware of who Tustin actually was and wasn’t aware of her past when they moved in together. Former partners called Tustin a “black widow” who only cared for herself and had previous run-ins with police.

“If I knew the kind of person Emma Tustin was I wouldn’t have been there. I was not aware of her involvement with police. Not aware of her suicide attempt. Not aware she had other children. I was not aware of her personality,” Hughes said.

Emma Tustin (r), Thomas and Arthur (l)/Handout

According to court documents, Tustin has four of her own children and was pregnant with Hughes’ child, but ultimately got an abortion.

Tustin previously claimed that Arthur fell and injured himself while standing alone in a hallway. Arthur “banged his head while on the floor on all fours,” Tustin said.

Consultant neuropathologist Daniel Du Plessis called the notion “inconceivable” and added there was no way the child died as Tustin suggested. Instead, Du Plessis said the boy likely died after being slammed and shaken with extreme force.

During court last week, while Hughes continued to play down his involvement, Hankin shared text messages Hughes sent to Tustin.

“You messaged Emma to ‘dig Arthur’s grave’, ‘I’ll take his neck off’, to ‘gag him with rope and a sock in his mouth’, ‘kid is getting it when I get back,’” Hankin said.

Hughes subsequently admitted to sending the messages.

Tustin must serve a minimum of 29 years behind bars before she’s eligible for parole. Hughes was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

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[Feature Photo: Facebook]