Heartbreaking footage played in court showed frail Arthur Labinjo-Hughes unable to lift his light duvet and shout ‘no-one loves me’ and ‘no-one is going to feed me’ hours before his horrifying death
Chilling babycam footage of murdered six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes taken just before the death played a crucial part in bringing his warped father and monster step-mum to justice.
Without enough strength in his little body to lift a light duvet, it was proof of the torture that would hours later go on to end his life.
Emma Tustin, 32, was unanimously convicted of murdering the child at Coventry Crown Court on Thursday.
Her partner and Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, was found guilty of manslaughter after his son suffered an “unsurvivable brain injury”.
In the haunting video, played in court, Arthur can be seen waking up and attempting to carry his bedding out of the room, clearly in severe distress.
He was so frail on the morning of June 16 last year he is visibly unable to pick up his duvet off the floor of his living room in Shirley, Solihull.
A couple of hours after the babycam clip was taken, he collapsed from head injuries which lead to his death, Birmingham Live reports.
Prosecutors successfully argued the youngster was subjected to weeks of “systematic abuse” at the hands of his father and twisted step-mum.
They add that those weeks of cruelty culminated in one final, and ultimately fatal attack.
It proved central to the convictions and describing the footage at the trial, Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC, said: “Arthur wakes up and stands.
“He appears to be struggling to fold his duvet. He appears to be crying and struggling on his feet.
“He drags his duvet on the floor out of the living room.”
Heartbreakingly, the boy then cries ‘no-one loves me’ four times as he struggles to stand before slumping to the floor of the living room.
Tragic Arthur is also heard saying ‘no-one is going to feed me’ seven times in 44 seconds.
His body was feeble from being made to stand in isolation in the hallway for up to 14 hours a day, being repeatedly assaulted.
The court heard weeks of harrowing evidence, including how Arthur was force-fed salt-laced meals, starved, dehydrated and routinely beaten.
On another occasion his father cut up two of his beloved Birmingham City shirts as punishment.
Medical experts told the jury his thymus – an organ in the immune system – had shrunk due to a ‘period of severe prolonged physical stress’ comparable to a child with cancer.
Arthur was “scarcely able to articulate his words” and could no longer support his own weight by the time of his murder.
Arthur’s mum described her son as “the light of my life” in a moving statement.
Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, who is serving an 11-year prison term for killing her boyfriend in 2019, said her son was “my best friend”.
In a statement from her prison cell, she wrote: “The details of Arthur’s case are harrowing and incomparable.
Helen Tipper / SWNS)
“But I want people to know who Arthur was, from his huge smile and personality to his gentle and caring nature.
“From the moment Arthur was born he filled my life with joy. He was always smiling and had the most inquisitive little mind.
“When I think about Arthur’s life and what he loved there are three things that I always think about.
“He loved to play football. He was kicking a football around as soon as he could walk.
“By the time he was four he could name most, if not all, of the England team, and he always had the latest Birmingham City kits.
“I could talk for hours about what Arthur loved and who Arthur was.
“Talking about Arthur’s loves would not be complete without mentioning superheroes. Marvel or DC, Arthur loved them all, from Batman to Black Panther, Aquaman to The Flash.
“Never did I imagine he would be taken from this world so early in his life.
“If Arthur could ask for one final thing it would be that he is remembered for his super power. That will always be what I remember him for.
“Arthur’s super power was his smile.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.