Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Bodycam footage shows crying killer step-mum claim boy, 6, attacked her

·5-min read
(West Midlands Police)
Emma Tustin explaining what happened to Arthur to the police. (West Midlands Police)

Footage of a step-mum lying about how the six-year-old child she murdered got his fatal injuries and going as far as to claim she had "done my best for that kid" has been released by police.

Emma Tustin, 32, was convicted on Thursday of murdering Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who suffered an unsurvivable brain injury after being subjected to a campaign of cruelty that amounted to the "medical definition of child torture."

In the police footage, Tustin can be seen crying claiming Arthur "headbutted the floor on all fours" after he collapsed at home.

She claimed Arthur trashed her home and hit her.

Video footage of Arthur hours before he suffered his injuries showed him so weak he could not lift a duvet.

The footage was taken by PC Louise Williams at 3.05pm not long after Arthur collapsed on 16 June 2020.

While Tustin was talking to the police Arthur was fighting for his life, he died soon after.

Watch: Watch bodycam of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' step mum lying to police to cover up beatings

Tustin told the officer Arthur was instructed to "sit on the thinking step" before he "threw himself all over the floor, threw himself on the radiator, hit me in the process of trying to get him back on the step."

Explaining what happened to Arthur she said: "He banged his head three or four times. Obviously then I just picked him up. He knocked himself unconscious. I picked him up, put him on the sofa, poured water in his mouth."

At one point Tustin appears to start crying saying "the last six months he's battered both my kids, he's smashed this house to pieces, he's battered his dad, he's hit me."

She added: "Yesterday we went to my friend's house, he pushed me down five stairs [saying] 'you're not my real mum I hate you I'm gonna get my mum to kill you.'

"Even so I've done my best for that kid, he f*****g hates me."

Watch: Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Harrowing recordings reveal scale of torment at hands of step-mum

Arthur’s father Thomas Hughes, 29, was convicted of manslaughter after encouraging the killing.

During the trial, audio clips and videos taken on mobile phones and cameras revealed the true extent of the suffering Arthur faced.

One clip that was played in the trial showed Arthur crying "no-one loves me" and "no-one is going to feed me."

The clips recorded in the final weeks of Arthur’s life revealed that he was “scarcely able to articulate his words” and could no longer support his own weight by the time of his murder.

Arthur was deprived of food, made to stand for 14 hours a day and was poisoned with salt.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. (SWNS)
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died aged six. (SWNS)

Tustin admitted in court that it was “horrendous” to listen to and watch footage of him captured on her mobile phone and CCTV cameras inside her lounge.

During one audio clip recorded during the period when Arthur was being forced to “stand like a statue” near the front door for hour after hour, Tustin was heard loudly repeating “do it, do it”.

On another recording, from more than a month before Arthur’s murder, he could be heard screaming and moaning: “I’m scared, I’m scared.”

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes waking up hours before he collapsed from fatal injuries. In the footage, he can be seen struggling to lift his duvet after sleeping in a living room. (SWNS)
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes waking up hours before he collapsed from fatal injuries. In the footage, he can be seen struggling to lift his duvet after sleeping in a living room. (SWNS)

CCTV from an in-lounge camera captured Arthur on the morning before he was fatally injured, appearing to limp and cry, and struggling to fold up a duvet he had been given to sleep downstairs.

During Tustin’s five days in the witness box, she was asked to respond to recordings of Arthur in clear distress, including film of him kicking and punching himself, and audio of him repeatedly groaning in apparent pain and asking to be taken to see a doctor.

Tustin claimed she had not realised at the time how bad the abuse was.

During Tustin’s evidence, prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said it was clear from the tone of her commands to Arthur that she had “relished” being cruel towards him.

Emma Tustin. (PA)
Emma Tustin was convicted of murdering Arthur. (PA)

Hankin asked: “How could you have believed that his behaviour was mischief and naughtiness rather than a reaction to what you were unreasonably requiring him to do?”

Tustin answered: “I did get it wrong, very wrong.

“It shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”

Around two weeks before Arthur’s death, Tustin recorded herself commanding Arthur to put his arms by his side.

She agreed with Hankin that Arthur had been made to stand in a “model posture” likened in court to a soldier on guard outside Buckingham Palace.

After Hankin said the recordings painted a picture of a child in utter distress, Tustin told the court: “I can hear that now but when I was there I just thought he was acting like a baby.

“At the time because of how much we had going on with Arthur, I didn’t recognise it.”

Thomas Hughes, 29. (PA)
Thomas Hughes, Arthur's father, was convicted of manslaughter. (PA)

Tustin, who was unclear as to when Arthur had last been given a treat like an ice cream or allowed to play outside, admitted she had been deliberately cruel but claimed her actions had left her “feeling like absolute crap”.

Hankin also suggested Tustin had developed a hatred for Arthur and viewed him as an “obstacle” to her relationship with his father.

The Crown’s barrister put it to Tustin: “You subjected him to a campaign of appalling cruelty didn’t you. Day after day, taking multiple forms.

“Standing, being assaulted, restricting his food, restricting his drink, assaulting him… the list goes on.”

Although she disputed that Arthur had been denied drinks, Tustin told the jury: “Even though I knew it was cruel, I convinced myself that it had to be done.”

Arthur's uncle Blake Hughes told the court last month the child broke out in tears after claiming that Tustin had pushed him against a wall and branded him 'ugly'.

He said: "He said his mum didn’t love him and had abandoned him. He then started to break out crying. He went on to say nobody loved him."

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