Police bodycam footage shows 'evil' murderer stepmum claim Arthur, six, attacked her

3 December 2021, 06:34

By Will Taylor

Harrowing body-cam footage shows the moment a "wicked" stepmother tried to convince police that the six-year-old boy she killed, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, had hurt himself and attacked her.

Emma Tustin, 32, slammed Arthur's head onto a hard surface after starving him and poisoning him with salt along with her partner, Thomas Hughes.

She was convicted of the six-year-old boy's murder at Coventry Crown Court on Thursday, with Hughes, 29, convicted of manslaughter.

The pair are due to be sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of killing the six-year-old.

They were described by Arthur's maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, as "wicked" and "evil" while prosecutors called them "utterly ruthless, unthinking and pitiless".

Newly-released bodycam footage shows the moment Tustin tried to convince an officer that, instead of murdering him, she had been hit and kicked by the young boy, and that he inflicted his own wounds.

"Basically, he's gone out to get me a birthday cake for kids," she says in the video, gesturing to Hughes.

"Arthur was told to sit on the thinking step – Arthur's put himself all over the floor.

"He's banged his head off the radiator, he's hit me, he's kicked me in the process of me trying to get him back on the thinking step.

Read more: 'Evil' father and stepmother guilty of killing Arthur, six, after months of horrific abuse

"He's then gone on all fours on the floor and I've told him to get up and I shut the door, all I heard was a crack off the floor.

"He was headbutting the floor on all fours, I said 'Arthur, get up, you'll hurt yourself and I've phoned your dad'.

"He went 'I don't care' and at that point he was fine and then he dropped his head again as I've tried to bear hug him and pick him up he headbutted the floor three times."

She then takes the officer inside to show her where she claimed Arthur was headbutting the floor.

In fact, Tustin and Hughes had tortured the child before Tustin killed him.

Tustin attacked Arthur while looking after him on her own in Solihull, West Midlands, taking a photo of the boy as he lay dying in the hallway and sending it to Hughes.

It was found that Arthur had died of an inflicted brain injury. He was found to have 130 injuries over his body, having been hit, slapped, kicked, punched and beaten, "over and over".

After lying to responding medics, Tustin would later claim the child must have thrown himself down the stairs even though evidence suggested he was barely strong enough to stand.

Hughes and Tustin were convicted of killing six-year-old Arthur
Hughes and Tustin were convicted of killing six-year-old Arthur. Picture: West Midlands Police

Arthur was segregated for 14 hours a day and made to sleep on the floor, and poisoned with so much salt he was too weak to fight against the abuse.

Tustin and Hughes also made him stand for hours on end in the hallway, while they denied him food or drink for "discipline".

For that, Tustin admitted two other counts of child cruelty, by wilfully assaulting the boy, while jurors convicted Hughes on both those counts.

Hughes was convicted of encouraging the killing, having sent a text about his son to Tustin less than a day before the killing which said "just end him".

He told Arthur to "watch you little c***, I'll bury you six feet under". When asked why he hadn't intervened with Tustin, Hughes said he believed things weren't as bad as they seemed and wanted to avoid unnecessary arguments.

He admitted he "probably" valued his partner more than his own son.

Detective Inspector Laura Harrison, from West Midlands Police, said the couple's behaviour was "horrific", "evil", and unfathomable.

She added: "It's the worst case I have had to investigate."

The pair will be sentenced on Friday.