A father on trial for his son’s death claims his girlfriend brainwashed him and forced him to abuse the boy, but denies causing the harm that led to the child’s death.
Thomas Hughes and his girlfriend, Emma Tustin, are accused of killing Hughes’ son, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, 6. The child died on June 17, 2020 from a brain injury allegedly caused by the defendants. Hughes and Emma are currently on trial in Coventry Crown Court in England.
Hugues blames Tustin for the tragedy, BirminghamLive Reports. In court last week, Hughes claimed Tustin mentally abused him and lit him on gas during the times they were together. Hughes added that Tustin had pressured him into engaging in abusive disciplinary routines against his son, including starving him, feeding him excessive amounts of salt, denying him water and physically abusing him.
The prosecution asked the accused why he had never intervened to save his son.
“When I went to – I was led to believe it was not as bad as I thought it wasHughes said, according to BBC News.
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC asked Hughes if he appreciated what Tustin thought about his own son’s care. Hughes said that “towards the end” he “probably did.”
Arthur was placed in his father’s care after the boy’s mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow was arrested for allegedly killing her new boyfriend in February 2019. Hughes and Arthur then moved into Tustin’s house in Solihull ( West Midlands). The abuse allegedly began shortly thereafter.
Arthur’s grandmother noticed the abuse, according to DailyMail, and contacted police. Social workers visited the boy’s home a few months before his death but did not remove him from the home.
Hankin told the court that Hughes and Tustin had devised a plan for Arthur to lie to social workers when they arrived to monitor him.
Although Hughes and Tustin both deny murdering the victim, Hughes reportedly admitted that he put pressure on Arthur’s neck after learning the technique on an Australian show.
He also admitted that he made his son be left alone for hours on end in the scorching sun while wearing a onesie and, in another incident, made him be left alone in a corridor for 14 hours.
“You’ve seen him go from a happy, chubby, healthy, active boy to a hopelessly sad, thin, weak, miserable child,” Hankin said.
Hughes said he didn’t know who Tustin was and was unaware of his past when they moved in together.
“If I had known the kind of person Emma Tustin was, I wouldn’t have been here. I was not aware of his involvement with the police. Not aware of his suicide attempt. I didn’t know she had other children. I was not aware of his personality, ”said Hughes.
According to court documents, Tustin has four of his own children and was pregnant with Hughes’ child, but ultimately had an abortion.
Tustin had previously claimed that Arthur fell and injured himself while standing alone in a hallway, which caused his death. Arthur “hit his head while on the ground on all fours,” Tustin said.
Consulting neuropathologist Daniel Du Plessis called the notion “inconceivable” and added that there was no way the child would die as Tustin suggested. Instead, Du Plessis said the boy likely died after being slammed and shaken with extreme force.
In court last week, as Hughes continued to play down his involvement, Hankin shared text messages Hughes sent to Tustin.
“You messaged Emma to ‘dig Arthur’s grave’, ‘I’m going to take his neck off’, to ‘gag him with a rope and a sock in his mouth’, ‘the kid will have it when I will come back, ”Hankin said.
Hughes then admitted to sending the messages.
“The things that I have accepted disgust me. No parent should act like I did. I can’t see my son again because of this, it’s horrible. Emma’s behavior was disgusting – she turned a lot of people on.
The trial continues. Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Facebook]