The grandmother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, told jurors she took the pictures to alert authorities to what was happening, but said they “didn’t want to see” it
Social services “didn’t want to see” pictures of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ bruises months before he was allegedly murdered by his father and stepmother, jurors have been told.
Arthur died on June 17 last year aged six, after being subjected to a “persistent campaign of cruelty” by his Thomas Hughes, 29, who is currently on trial for his murder.
Little Arthur was found with 125 areas of bruising on his body after he died from unsurvivable brain injuries in June last year, while alone with Hughes’ partner Emma Tustin, 32.
Coventry Crown Court was told that Arthur’s concerned grandmother Joanne Hughes, took pictures of a large bruise on his shoulder in a failed attempt to show authorities that her grandson was in danger.
But she said when she called social services and offered to send the picture they “didn’t want to see” it.
When social workers visited the following day, Ms Hughes said they recorded “no concerns”, and simply put the marks down to “child’s play”.
When social workers visited the next day, they put the marks down to ‘child play’ and recorded ‘no concerns’.
One of the social workers later told jurors that she had noticed a “yellowing bruise” in the middle of Arthur’s back when she visited, and when she was later shown the picture Ms Hughes took, she was “shocked” at how she had failed to realise how extensive his injuries were.
Recordings of a six-year-old boy crying “no-one loves me” and “no-one’s gonna feed me” before his death were released as the murder trial nears its end.
Hughes and Tustin both deny murdering Arthur, after he suffered a fatal collapse while alone with his stepmother at her Cranmore Road home in Solihull, West Midlands, on June 16 last year.
WMP / SWNS)
The pair also face multiple counts of child cruelty, after it was alleged the boy was force-fed salt-laced meals, kept isolated in the home, starved, dehydrated and routinely beaten by the couple.
The court heard Hughes sent text messages to Tustin saying to “dig Arthur’s grave”, and “kid’s getting ended when I get back”.
Tustin has claimed Arthur’s fatal head injury was self-inflicted, possibly by throwing himself down the staircase in her hallway, where he was forced to spend “12 to 14 hours” a day as part of the couple’s behavioural regime.
WMP / SWNS)
Jurors sitting at Coventry Crown Court have heard the boy had 130 injuries, both old and new, all over his body, including 30 alone on his head and neck.
He did not have his own bed and had to sleep on the lounge floor without a mattress, the court has previously heard.
Prosecutors have also alleged Tustin and Hughes withheld food and drink, and when they did feed Arthur they poisoned him with salt, leaving him frail and weak.
Tustin has also accepted recording more than 200 audio files of Arthur, while he was being punished, claiming they were to show Hughes how his son was behaving.
Two of the audio files have now been made public for the first time since the trial began last month.
In one, Arthur can be heard crying and pleading: “No-one loves me,” repeating the phrase four times in a 23-second recording.
In another audio file of 44 seconds, Arthur cries “No-one’s gonna feed me” seven times.
Arthur fatally collapsed while he and his father were staying at Tustin’s home during the first Covid lockdown.
The jury has heard from one witness who described how Arthur looked “broken” just a few weeks after he moved in.
Video of a weakened and frail Arthur, recorded just hours before his collapse and previously played in court, was also released on Tuesday after being seen by the jury.
The footage, recorded on an internal CCTV camera in the property’s lounge, shows the boy struggling to pick up and then put away his pillow and blanket after waking at 8.36am.
It takes him 28 seconds to get to his knees and finally his feet, with an expression of pain on his face throughout.
Hughes and Tustin have both pleaded not guilty to murder.
Tustin admitted one count of child cruelty, but has denied further charges of the same offence. Hughes also denies child cruelty offences.
The trial – held at Coventry Crown Court – continues.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.