Rag doll

Girlfriend treated Arthur Labinjo-Hughes ‘like a rag doll’, co-accused father says

A father accused of murdering his six-year-old son has spoken of his “anger” as he said his co-accused ex-girlfriend treated his son “like a rag doll”.

Thomas Hughes said he felt “a lot of guilt” for the death of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and decided to “take responsibility for myself” and away from his former partner Emma Tustin, who was pregnant with them. child at the time.

But the 29-year-old said he was not fully aware of what was going on at their Cranmore Road home, Shirley, adding that he now saw Tustin in a “completely different light”.

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Arthur collapsed from fatal head injuries at home on June 16 of last year, while alone with Tustin. He died in hospital at 1 a.m. the next day.

Hughes denies the murder based on encouraging violence against his son as well as four counts of child cruelty. Tustin, 32, denies all but one charge, admitting only one count of child cruelty.

It is alleged that the couple forced Arthur into seclusion for up to 14 hours a day, beat him, starved him of food and water, and poisoned him with salt during the first nationwide lockdown.

Hughes testified today – Thursday, November 18 – at Coventry Crown Court for the second day.

Thomas Hughes, Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Emma Tustin

He said he spent time during his pre-trial detention reading the case documents and viewing the living room’s CCTV evidence. When asked what he understood about what was really going on at Tustin’s house at the time, while he was away, Hughes said, “Not much. The only thing I did. was aware was his behavior. I was not aware of the pieces around. “

When asked how he felt after viewing the footage in the living room at the time of Arthur’s collapse, he replied, “Angry. He’s my boy and she used him as a doll. cloth.”

Hughes recalled that Tustin told him that Arthur had “hit his head” and then “knocked out”.

Asked again to describe his feelings, Hughes initially declined, stating that his “feelings are strong enough.” But prompted again, he said: “A lot of anger. At Emma Tustin. Partly at me, mostly at Emma Tustin.”

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Arthur’s dad claims his ‘jealous’ girlfriend ‘led the wedge’ between him and his son

The accused father “is smitten with his girlfriend who said he was too gentle with his son”

Hughes added: “My boy was put in this position and looking back I didn’t react.”

When he arrived home, he told the court he had asked Tustin to call an ambulance three times, but she seemed “reluctant.”

After his arrest, Hughes had his first interview with the police and refused the presence of a lawyer. He then spoke with Tustin in the back of a van on the way to the Magistrate Court.

Asked about the confessions he made in his subsequent interviews, he said: “I had lost a child, I knew about the pregnancy of the second. I didn’t want to lose another child and the only way to protect this child was to try to protect Emma from all of this and take responsibility for myself. “

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Hughes added: “Over the 17 months I’ve been asked a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of regarding Emma and it made me see Emma in a whole different light.

“Back then, I thought I was doing the right thing for my unborn child. I now realize that I made it a lot harder for myself.”

He said the first time he found out Tustin had since had an abortion was when she said so in court testimony last week.

In cross-examination, Hughes denied treating Arthur “like a punch bag”. He also refuted an allegation that he took Arthur upstairs at 1 p.m. on June 16 and poisoned him with salt in the bathroom.

The trial continues.

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