Boy’s screams of ‘no one loves me’ recorded on audio file played for murder trial
Tapes of six-year-old boy shouting “no one loves me” and “no one is going to feed me” before his death have been released as the murder trial of his father and mother-in-law draws to a close .
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died in hospital of insurmountable brain injury after what prosecutors claimed was a “campaign of cruelty” amounting to “torture”.
Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, both deny Arthur’s murder, after suffering a fatal collapse while alone with his stepmother at his Cranmore Road home in Solihull, West Midlands , June 16 of last year.
The couple also face multiple counts of child cruelty, after it was alleged that the boy was force-fed with salty meals, isolated at home, starved, dehydrated and regularly beaten by the couple.
Hughes texted Tustin telling him to “dig Arthur’s grave” and “kid ends when I get back”.
Tustin claimed that Arthur’s fatal head injury was self-inflicted, possibly by throwing himself down the stairs in his hallway, where he was forced to spend “12 to 14 hours” a day in part of the couple’s behavioral regime.
Jurors sitting at Coventry Crown Court heard the boy had 130 injuries, old and new, all over his body, including 30 to his head and neck alone.
He didn’t have his own bed and had to sleep on the living room floor without a mattress, the court has already heard.
Prosecutors also alleged that Tustin and Hughes refused to eat and drink, and when they fed Arthur, they poisoned him with salt, leaving him frail and weak.
Tustin also agreed to record over 200 audio files of Arthur, while he was being punished, saying they had to show Hughes how his son was.
Two of the audio files were made public for the first time since the trial began last month.
In one of them, Arthur can be heard crying and begging, “No one loves me,” repeating the phrase four times in a 23-second recording.
In another 44 second audio file, Arthur yells “No one is going to feed me” seven times.
Arthur fatally collapsed while he and his father stayed at Tustin’s home during the first Covid lockdown.
The jury heard from a witness who described how ‘broken’ Arthur looked just weeks after moving in.
A video of a weakened and frail Arthur, recorded just hours before his collapse and previously played in court, was also first released by West Midlands Police on Tuesday after being seen by the jury.
The footage, recorded on an internal CCTV camera in the property’s living room, shows the boy struggling to pick up and then put away his pillow and blanket after waking up at 8:36 a.m.
It takes him 28 seconds to get to his knees and finally to his feet, with an expression of pain on his face.
While not present for the alleged fatal assault, Hughes, of Stroud Road, Solihull, is charged with aiding the murder and also faces three counts of child cruelty. He denies any wrongdoing.
Tustin has admitted one count of child cruelty but denies two other similar charges.
The trial, which is scheduled to sit on Wednesday but since adjourned until later in the week, is continuing.