Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Father accused of aiding and abetting his son's murder cut up the six-year-old's football shirts as punishment, court hears

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A "bullying" father accused of aiding and abetting his son's murder cut up his favourite football shirts in front of his face, a court has heard.

Thomas Hughes said Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, was "visibly upset" and agreed the act was "nasty and cruel".

His partner, Emma Tustin, 32, is accused of giving the boy an unsurvivable brain injury by fatally shaking and hitting him while they were staying at her home.

Hughes, 29, of Stroud Road, Solihull, denies aiding and abetting the murder. Tustin denies murder but has admitted one count of child cruelty.

Both are also said to have forced Arthur to eat salt-laced meals and isolated him for months in abuse that prosecutors compared to "torture".

Tustin previously claimed the boy's brain injury was self-inflicted - possibly by throwing himself down the staircase in her hall, where she said he was forced to spend "12 to 14 hours" a day, seven days a week.

The court previously heard the six-year-old looked "broken" just a few weeks after moving into Tustin's home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, during the first lockdown.

Hughes, appearing at Coventry Crown Court on Friday, described cutting up the football shirts after Tustin claimed the boy had ripped up two precious photos.

He said he hadn't seen his son do that, but punished him anyway.

Mary Prior QC, Tustin's lawyer, asked if he had cut up the two Birmingham FC tops "in front of his face?"

"I would have done, yes," said Hughes.

"Do you agree that's nasty and cruel?" the lawyer asked. "Yes", he replied.

"He (Arthur) was visibly upset," said Hughes.

The jury was told Hughes also "ripped up Arthur's favourite blanket" and threw it in the bin, and previously heard he had also removed his son's favourite teddy bear on a separate occasion.

The boy also had no bed at the property and was made to sleep on the lounge floor and monitored by CCTV.

At the time, Arthur was also coming to terms with being told his natural mother had been jailed for killing her boyfriend.

Teachers described noticing a change in the normally happy boy in late 2019, around six months before his fatal collapse on 16 June 2020. Arthur died the next day.

Hughes was not present for the alleged fatal assault. As well as being accused of aiding the killing, he faces three child cruelty charges.

The trial continues.

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