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Watch: Murderous stepmum’s crocodile tears after beating six-year-old boy

·2-min read
Watch: Murderous stepmum’s crocodile tears after beating six-year-old boy

A woman who murdered her six-year-old stepson was seen crying crocodile tears as she tried blaming him for his fatal injuries.

Bodycam footage showed Emma Tustin, 32, weeping as she told police how Arthur Labinjo-Hughes collapsed and “headbutted the floor on all fours”.

The stepmum was unanimously convicted of his murder at Coventry Crown Court and will be sentenced on Friday.

Arthur suffered an “unsurvivable brain injury” at her home in Solihull, West Midlands, in June 2020.

His father Thomas Hughes, 29, was found guilty of manslaughter after Arthur was subjected to a campaign of “evil” abuse and killed at his partner Tustin’s home.

Prosecutors described the couple as “utterly ruthless, unthinking and pitiless”.

Tustin carried out the fatal assault while home alone with Arthur, violently shaking him and repeatedly banging his head, likely against the hallway wall.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

She then took a photograph of the unconscious youngster on her mobile phone, while he lay dying in her hall, before sending the image to Hughes.

Tustin then took 12 minutes to call 999, instead first ringing Hughes, before lying to medics and later police that Arthur “fell and banged his head”.

She claimed at trial he must have thrown himself down the stairs, despite evidence he was so starved he could barely stand.

Emma Tustin, 32, of Solihull (PA / CPS)
Emma Tustin, 32, of Solihull (PA / CPS)

Hughes, also of Solihull, was convicted of manslaughter after encouraging the killing by his actions, including sending a text message to Tustin 18 hours before the fatal assault telling her “just end him”.

After his death, Arthur was found to have 130 injuries all over his body, after being hit, slapped, kicked, punched and beaten, “over and over”.

Tustin admitted two other counts of child cruelty, by wilfully assaulting the boy and isolating him in the home by making him stand up to 14 hours a day in the hallway with jurors convicting Hughes on both those counts.

Speaking after the verdicts, Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow called them “wicked” and “evil”.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

She described the couple’s behaviour, which included Tustin poisoning the youngster by force-feeding him salt-laced meals, as “unfathomable”.

“There’s no word for them, especially your own child,” she said.

An independent serious case review is now under way into the actions of Solihull Council social workers who found “no safeguarding concerns” after visiting Arthur, just two months before he was murdered.

 (PA Media)
(PA Media)

Hughes’ mother, Joanne Hughes, had seen bruises on Arthur’s back, with the boy telling how Tustin “called him an ugly, horrible brat” and shoved him into the stairs.

She alerted children’s social services to the bruises in April, just weeks before his death.

But two social workers who saw Arthur at Cranmore Road, had “no safeguarding concerns”.

Solihull’s Local Child Safeguarding Partnership is now carrying out an independent review of the circumstances surrounding the “terrible tragedy”, including the actions of Solihull Council’s social services.

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