Murder-accused called Arthur ‘devil child’ during texts to boyfriend, court told

A woman accused of murdering her partner’s six-year-old son called him a ‘devil child’ in a text to his father, a court heard.

Emma Tustin referred to Arthur Labinjo-Hughes as a little t***, little p***k, little f*** and little c*** in messages to her boyfriend Thomas Hughes in the weeks before the boy suffered fatal injuries, Coventry Crown Court heard.

While in other messages Hughes stated he was going to ‘fill him in’, the court was told.

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Both deny murdering Arthur who collapsed at Tustin’s home in Cranmore Road, Shirley, Solihull, on June 16, last year, and died in hospital the following day having suffered a traumatic brain injury. Tustin has admitted one count of child cruelty but has denied further charges of the same offence. Hughes also denies child cruelty offences.

On day three of the trial held at Coventry Crown Court the jury was shown further text messages, audio and video clips exchanged between the defendants who rowed multiple times over Arthur.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

The court was told Tustin sent numerous texts claiming Arthur was ‘screaming’, refusing to eat his food, demanding to go to his grandmother as well as attack her.

The couple also spoke of separating and in one row the jury was told that Tustin sent a text saying: “I want you but not him. I’m not being treated like that by him.”

Hughes replied: “It can’t be one and not the other. Unfortunately, it’s got to be both or none.”

In response, the court was told, Tustin messaged: “Cya.”

Tustin made numerous references to being pregnant in the weeks leading up to June 16 and in one message she accused Hughes of ‘turning his back’ on his unborn child, the jury was told.

The court heard a further text to her boyfriend said: “You stay with the devil child.”

In the week before Arthur collapsed Tustin allegedly rowed with Hughes over Arthur, saying: “There’s one issue in this house. One person causing s***.”


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While in texts on June 11 she also made reference to Hughes hitting Arthur as well as kicking a hole in the door, jurors heard.

In one message read to the court Tustin said: “Take your precious child who can’t do wrong and f*** off.”

The jury was also given a virtual tour of the house at Cranmore Road as the prosecution began playing CCTV from inside the property during the days immediately before Arthur’s death.

The trial continues.

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