Evil stepmother Emma Tustin 'suicide risk' after being bullied by inmates in jail

3 December 2021, 15:53 | Updated: 3 December 2021, 16:07

Tustin was sentence to life in prison for the murder of six year old Arthur
Tustin was sentence to life in prison for the murder of six year old Arthur. Picture: Police

By Megan Hinton

An evil stepmother jailed for for life for the horrific abuse and murder of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, is a "suicide risk" after been bullied by other prisoners, a court heard.

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Emma Tustin was sentenced to life and will serve a minimum of 29 years for killing her stepson in June last year after a campaign of "cruel and inhuman" abuse.

During the sentencing at Coventry Crown Court today, Mary Prior QC, in mitigation for Tustin, told the court her client had made two attempts to take her life during the trial.

The barrister told the court Tustin has been "bullied" in prison by inmates but claimed doctor assessed her as fit to continue with court proceedings.

But Ms Prior said Tustin will "remain a suicide risk".

She was sentenced today and was brought to court for the hearing but "refused to come up" to the dock, the judge, Mr Justice Mark Wall QC said.

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Tustin was also convicted of two counts of child cruelty, including salt-poisoning and withholding food and drink from Arthur.

The boy's father, Thomas Hughes, was also sentenced to 21 years in prison for manslaughter and cruelty to his boy.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was left with an unsurvivable brain injury while in the sole care of "evil" 32-year-old Emma Tustin, after she had cruelly abused, starved and poisoned him with salt laced food.

After fatally assaulting Arthur, Tustin then took 12 minutes to call 999.

Instead she first rang Hughes, then lied to medics and police that Arthur "fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times".

Tustin, who once referred to Arthur as "Satan", later claimed he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence that he was barely strong enough to pick up his own bedding, or stand.

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Partway through the trial, she admitted two other cruelty counts - wilfully assaulting Arthur on three occasions and isolating him, including by forcing him to stand in the hallway for up to 14 hours a day as part of a draconian punishment regime.

It emerged at trial that Arthur had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, after concerns were raised by his paternal grandmother Joanne Hughes, but they concluded there were "no safeguarding concerns".

In her victim impact statement, which she read in court ahead of the sentencing, Ms Hughes said Arthur, as a "happy, contented, thriving seven-year-old", would "be alive today" had her son not met Tustin.

The secondary school teacher added: "It is also clear that Arthur was failed by the very authorities that we, as a society, are led to believe are there to ensure the safety of everyone."

The Prime Minister has also called for "questions to be answer" surrounding the failure of authorities to detect the abuse Arthur was forced to endure for months.

For confidential emotional support at times of distress, contact Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing jo@samaritans.org