Father accused of murdering son cut football shirts off as punishment

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Thomas Hughes, who is accused of aiding and abetting the murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, told a jury on Friday his work had left his son “visibly upset” and agreed he was “mean and cruel” .

Hughes’ partner Emma Tustin, 32, is accused of shaking and fatally hitting Arthur, leaving him with an “insurmountable” brain injury, as the boy and his father stayed at home during the first Covid lockdown.

Tustin and Hughes deny the murder of Arthur, which jurors said looked “broken” just weeks after he moved into Tustin’s house in Cranmore Road, Solihull, West Midlands.

They are both also accused of poisoning Arthur by forcing him to eat salty meals, isolating him inside the house and inflicting months of abuse amounted to “torture” by the prosecutors.

Tustin has previously claimed that Arthur self-inflicted his fatal head injury, possibly by throwing himself down the stairs in his hallway, where the boy was forced to spend “12 to 14 hours” a day. as part of the couple’s behavioral diet.

Hughes, testifying in his defense in Coventry Crown Court, was questioned about the events leading up to his son’s fatal collapse on June 16, 2020.

Mary Prior QC, representing Tustin, asked Hughes about a punishment he inflicted on her son, after Tustin claimed the boy tore up two photographs that were valuable to her.

Hughes told the jury that he didn’t see his son tearing up the photos in late April and early May 2020, but punished Arthur for it.

Ms. Prior asked, “You’ve decided to punish him by damaging some of his property, haven’t you? “

Hughes replied, “His soccer jerseys, yes. Two of them.”

Ms Prior then asked him if he had taken the two Birmingham City Football Club shirts and “cut them out in front of his face”?

“I would have, yes,” replied the boy’s father.

When Ms. Prior asked him, “Do you agree that this is mean and cruel?” Hughes replied, “Yes.”

“He (Arthur) was visibly upset,” he said.

The court heard that Hughes also “tore up Arthur’s favorite blanket” and then put the remains “in the trash”.

Jurors had previously heard how Hughes removed his son’s favorite teddy bear on another occasion and that the boy did not have a bed on the property.

Instead, he was forced to sleep on the floor in the living room, where he was monitored by an internal CCTV camera.

At the time, Arthur was still coming to terms with the recent news that his birth mother had been sent to jail for killing her then-boyfriend, the jury has already heard.

School teachers were among those who noticed a change in the behavior of the generally happy boy in late 2019 – before the lockdown.

Although not present during the alleged fatal assault, Hughes, 29, of Stroud Road, Solihull, is charged with aiding the murder and also faces three counts of child cruelty .

Tustin has admitted one count of child cruelty but denies two other similar charges.

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