Crocodile tears of Arthur’s evil step-mum: Self-pitying murderer says boy, 6, beat HER and claims he inflicted injuries on HIMSELF – as his cowardly father remains entirely silent in astonishing police bodycam footage
Astonishing police bodycam footage has revealed the moment an ‘evil’ stepmother claimed a six-year-old boy hit her and inflicted injuries on himself, as she was found guilty of his murder today.
Emma Tustin, 32, killed Arthur Labinjo-Hughes by repeatedly slamming his head on a hard surface after she and 29-year-old Thomas Hughes starved the youngster and poisoned him with salt.
Today, Tustin was convicted of murdering Arthur on June 17, 2020, while his father was found guilty of manslaughter – but cleared of murder – for encouraging the killing, including by sending a text message to Tustin 18 hours before the fatal assault telling her ‘just end him’.
Newly released police bodycam footage of Tustin’s arrest shows the self-pitying stepmother shedding tears as she claimed the six-year-old boy had actually beaten her and inflicted the injuries on himself.
Newly released police bodycam footage shows Emma Tustin shedding tears as she claimed six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes had actually hit her and inflicted the injuries on himself
In the sickening footage, captured on June 16 last year, Tustin claims that Arthur threw himself on the floor and hit her after he was told to hit on the ‘thinking step’.
She claimed the youngster inflicted the injuries on himself by banging himself on a radiator and ‘head-butting the floor on all fours’.
As Tustin spoke to the officer, Arthur’s father Hughes remained completely silent, standing in the background and watching the exchange.
She continued: ‘Basically, he’d gone out to get me a birthday card and cake for the kids. Arthur was told to sit on the thinking step and Arthur threw himself all over the floor.
‘He’s banged himself on the radiator, he’s hit me, he’s kicked me in the process of me trying to get him back on the thinking step.
‘He’s then gone on all fours on the floor and I’ve told him to get up and I’ve shut the door. All I heard was a crack, he was head-butting the floor on all fours.
In the bodycam footage, captured on June 16 last year, Tustin (pictured) claims that Arthur threw himself on the floor and hit her after he was told to hit on the ‘thinking step’
Emma Tustin, 32, (left) killed Arthur Labinjo-Hughes by repeatedly slamming his head on a hard surface after she and 29-year-old Thomas Hughes starved the youngster and poisoned him with salt
‘I said “Arthur you’re going to hurt yourself, I’ve phoned your dad” and he said “I don’t care”.
‘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, and he head-butted the floor three times.’
Taking the police officer into the doorway of the home, she pointed to the area in the doorway where she claimed Arthur hit his head.
She added: ‘It’s concrete, there’s no underlay under that. But he banged his head three or four times, he’d knocked himself unconscious. I picked him up, put him on the sofa poured water in his mouth.’
When asked by the officer what she did when he banged his head, Tustin says: ‘I came out, told him to get up, he told me no. So I tried to bear hug him and put my arms underneath him and pick him up and he dropped and he banged his head another three times on the floor.’
Seeming to become emotional, Tustin said Arthur ‘hit’ and ‘kicked’ her as she tried to lift him up off the floor, while her partner Hughes stood next to her and remained silent.
Tustin continued: ‘I picked him up off the floor, tried to put him on the stairs just to get him to – but his head’s obviously going – so I put him on the stairs and […] phoned an ambulance.’
The police officer asked her if Arthur was ‘unresponsive’, to which Tustin confirmed ‘yes’, before beginning to cry and claim that the six-year-old had ‘battered’ her children and his father and ‘smashed the house to pieces’.
She said: ‘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.
‘When I tried to get him off the floor, from head-butting the floor, he head-butted me and he’s kicked me and he’s hit me.
Today, Tustin was convicted of murdering Arthur on June 17, 2020, while his father (pictured with Arthur) was found guilty of manslaughter – but cleared of murder
An artist’s impression of Tustin and Hughes in court not long before they were convicted of killing him today
‘Yesterday we went to my friend’s house, he’s pushed me down five stairs. ‘You’re not my real mum I hate you, I’m going to get my mum to kill you’, he said.’
While sobbing, Tustin added: ‘And even so I’ve done my best for that kid.’
It comes after Tustin was convicted of murdering Arthur on June 17, 2020, during the Covid lockdown. Hughes was also found guilty of manslaughter – but cleared of murder.
They were both convicted of numerous counts of child cruelty. Following the verdicts, the judge ordered a minute’s silence for Arthur at the request of the jury.
Arthur was put into the custody of his father after his biological mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29, killed her partner Gary Cunningham by stabbing him 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019.
Hughes met mother-of-four Tustin online and the couple moved with Arthur into her home near Solihull in the West Midlands when the government declared a lockdown in March 2020. Arthur’s maternal grandmother, Madeleine Halcrow, said that Tustin was ‘obsessed’ about the idea Thomas would go back to Olivia, and that ‘the only way she could get Olivia out of her life was by getting rid of Arthur’.
Tustin, who had two of her children taken into care following a suicide attempt, repeatedly complained she could not cope with Arthur’s behaviour during lockdown and begged Hughes to let him return to his grandparents. Hughes’ barrister, Bernard Richmond, said Tustin saw Arthur as her ‘prey’. Today it emerged she has already been attacked in jail by fellow inmates.
Hughes and Tustin carried out a horrific ‘campaign of cruelty’ amounting to ‘torture’ against Arthur, in which he was force-fed salt-laced meals, kept isolated in the home, starved, dehydrated and routinely beaten.
The usually ‘chubby, happy’ and ‘always smiley’ boy moved into Tustin’s home at the start of the first national lockdown in March 2020, but one witness described how he looked ‘broken’ just before his death less than three months later.
Tests later revealed Arthur had also been ‘poisoned with salt’ in the hours before his collapse, while a post-mortem examination found the youngster had suffered about 130 separate injuries.
Hughes met mother-of-four Tustin (pictured) online before the couple moved with Arthur into her home near Solihull in the West Midlands after the government announced the lockdown
Hughes and Tustin carried out a horrific ‘campaign of cruelty’ against Arthur (pictured), in which he was force-fed salt-laced meals, kept isolated in the home, starved and beaten
Tustin admitted two counts of child cruelty during the harrowing trial in Coventry, including carrying out three assaults on the boy and also making him sit or stand in her hallway for up to 14 hours a day as part of a behavioural regime.
She accepted making 200 audio recordings of Arthur, often crying and moaning during these punishments, claiming she did so only to send them to Hughes in order to demonstrate the boy’s ‘naughty’ behaviour while he was absent.
Some of these extracts have been played to the court, including one in which the boy can be heard saying ‘no-one loves me’, and another in which he cried ‘no-one’s gonna feed me’.
Hughes, in evidence, had alleged Tustin ‘mentally abused’ and ‘gaslighted’ him into complying with the punishing disciplinary regime, but also admitted lying to school staff who were checking on Arthur’s progress during the first Covid lockdown.
He previously said he had ‘probably’ placed the couple’s relationship above the welfare of his son.
Tustin, who has accepted being cruel to Arthur on occasions and was pregnant with Hughes’ unborn child at the time, has said she was ‘disgusted and ashamed’ by her admitted behaviour.
But she callously claimed that Arthur’s fatal head injury must have been self-inflicted, possibly caused by him throwing himself down the staircase in her hallway, and describing how she heard a ‘bang’ and a ‘crack’.
During her evidence, she said that just because medical experts had concluded Arthur’s death had been caused by head trauma ‘inflicted upon him by an adult’, that ‘doesn’t make it true’.