Due to the national lockdown last year, the couple moved into Tustin's home in Shirley with Arthur. This is when the abuse that ultimately resulted in the boy's death began.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of child abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes, who was 6-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes stepmother and father, was recently sentenced to life with a minimum term of 29 years for the murder of the little boy, according to The Guardian.
Labinjo-Hughes was abused beyond imagination by Tustin, 32, and Hughes, 29. They occasionally beat him and left him starving. He was also forced to stand for over 14 hours in isolation. When he was given food, it was salt-laced, which made it impossible for the little boy to eat, added BBC. Even a few hours before his death, he was made to ingest significant amounts of salt.
When the child was admitted to the hospital, the sodium levels within his blood were so high that medical staff could not measure them accurately. At the hospital, Arthur was found with 130 bruises on his body.
Aston Villa will pay tribute to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with a sixth-minute applause at Villa Park on Sunday.— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 3, 2021
Everyone at the Club is deeply saddened by Arthur’s heartbreaking passing. Our thoughts are with all affected by this cruel tragedy.
Rest in Peace, Arthur.
Now, CCTV footage shared by The Sun shows how the cruel couple can be seen enjoying cold ice-creams on a hot summer day while Labinjo-Hughes was forced to stand in the corridor, in a fluffy onesie.
The father goes out to get the ice cream from a truck outside and comes in holding two cones, and walks past his son, and proceeds to hand it over to his wife. In another shocking video, the couple can be seen digging into a scrumptious meal from a fast-food chain.
The stepmother reportedly killed Arthur on 16 June 2020, by violently shaking and hitting his head, causing injuries that were “extensive and devastating”, Wall said. “The amount of violence you used on him produced forces on his body said to be equivalent to those which might otherwise have been produced by a high-speed road traffic collision.”
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was recorded talking about how he would like to play for Liverpool and then Tottenham in a video.— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 5, 2021
The six-year-old was poisoned, starved and beaten by his father's girlfriend Emma Tustin, and his father Thomas Hughes.
Read more: https://t.co/TZ3BnFHNcL pic.twitter.com/ogrEAclRjG
The woman then took a photo of Arthur on her mobile phone as he lay dying in the hallway, sending the image to Hughes, the court heard. She called 999 only after good 12 minutes, lying to medics that Arthur "fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times", later claiming he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence he was barely strong enough to pick up his own bedding.
Judges went through hours and hours of video recorded in the final weeks of the boy's life. In one audio clip, Arthur could be heard crying "no-one loves me," repeating the phrase four times, while in another he cries "no-one's gonna feed me" seven times. Arthur was "scarcely able to articulate his words" and could no longer support his own weight by the time of his murder.
Apparently, Hughes used to take proper care of his son until he became infatuated with Tustin "to the extent that it obliterated all your love for your son," said Justice Mark Wall QC who added that the case was "without doubt one of the most distressing and disturbing" he has ever dealt with. "This cruel and inhuman treatment of Arthur was a deliberate decision by you to brush off his cries for help as naughtiness."
Body cam footage shows killer stepmother trying to claim to police that Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, hit and kicked her - while he lay dying in hospital https://t.co/wswVPFcuSQ pic.twitter.com/HGynjgrutg— LBC (@LBC) December 2, 2021
The young boy was once "cherished by all" while living with his dad in an annex in the garden of his paternal grandparents. His dad was given sole custody of him after his mom was placed in jail for stabbing her ex-boyfriend. But, from the moment Hughes and Tustin started dating, his "stable" life began to spiral. Due to the national lockdown last year, the couple moved into Tustin's home in Shirley with Arthur -which is when the abuse against him began, and it ultimately resulted in the boy losing his life.
He referred to Tustin as a “manipulative woman who will tell any lie and shift the blame on to anyone to save her own skin”. The woman is a mother of two kids, and the judge added that the “shocking feature of the case” that Tustin’s own two children, aged four and five, “lived a perfectly happy, normal life in that household while this appalling cruelty to Arthur was taking place”.
Meanwhile, Solihull Member of Parliament, Julian Knight, reacted to the couple's jail sentences and called for them to be increased.
BREAKING: Emma Tustin has been sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 29 years for the cruelty and murder of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 3, 2021
Her partner and Arthur's father, Thomas Hughes was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years.https://t.co/EA8ibWRbZN pic.twitter.com/s5nzIEueFI
"I think anyone reflecting on those sentences yesterday thinks that they were too lenient and my intention is to try to refer this to the unduly lenient sentencing scheme as soon as possible," he said, per Sky News. "There's a palpable sense of real loss and tragedy over this and a sense of anger and questions over how this was allowed to happen and how these monsters were allowed to inflict this horrible torture on this defenseless young boy."
To honor the late boy, who was an ardent football fan, the crowd at West Ham's London Stadium erupted into cheers at the 6th minute, as fans of the Premier League side and league leaders Chelsea shared a touching tribute in the six-minute of their match
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Mike Hewitt