Harrowing photo shows bruises on boy, 6, just two months before he was 'tortured to death by dad and stepmum'

HARROWING pictures show bruises on a six-year-old's back two months before he was allegedly tortured to death by his dad and stepmum.

The image was released by police today as Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' murder trial comes to a close.

It shows Arthur with a deep bruise on his back that has coloured around an angry purple welt.

The youngster's shoulder blade also appears to be protruding after he was allegedly starved by Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32.

The image, which has been shown to jurors, was taken by Arthur's concerned paternal grandmother Joanne Hughes.

She told jurors how she called social services and offered to send them pictures of the bruising but they "didn't want to see them".

Child services eventually saw Arthur but "no concerns were raised", and while photos of the bruises were sent to the police, no further action was taken, it was said.

Just two months later, Arthur suffered an "unsurvivable brain injury".

A photo was also released by West Midlands Police of Arthur looking happier as he smiles at the camera while doing homework.

The youngster was allegedly subjected to a "campaign of cruelty" before his death that matched the “medical definition of child torture”.

Police yesterday released chilling video clips and audio recordings previously played to court.

In one 23-second recording, Arthur can be heard crying "no one loves me" four times.

In another, he repeatedly wails "no one is going to feed me".

Video footage also showed Arthur hours before he died waking up on the living room floor.

The emaciated youngster was said to be so frail he could barely pick his bedding.


Jurors were told Tustin recorded more than 22 pictures and videos of Arthur in distress.

Jurors have watched CCTV of Tustin tucking into McDonald's while Arthur was left in a hallway for 14 hours and forced to sleep on the floor.

They have also previously heard audio clips Tustin recorded of Arthur sobbing while allegedly being abused.

He cried in one clip: "Daddy's going to throw me out the window, daddy's going to throw me out the window, daddy's going to throw me out of the window."

On June 16, Tustin allegedly beat Arthur to death then waited 13 minutes to call 999 and tell them he was "barely breathing" after he "headbutted the floor".

Paramedics arrived at the home to find Arthur "lying on his back, completely lifeless, quite pale with purple lips", it was said.

Arthur died in hospital the next day with a cause of death given as a "head trauma inflicted on him by an adult" consistent with being "vigorously shaken and his head banged repeatedly against a hard surface".

Doctors found he was poisoned with so much salt he was "unable to put up a fight" before his death, jurors heard.

The court was told the youngster had more than six spoons worth of the substance in his system – the highest level a medic had ever seen.


He was also allegedly "segregated and isolated" for "up to 14 hours a day" and deprived of a bed, food and clothing.

Jurors heard he was covered in 130 bruises from his head to his feet.

He had 93 areas of injury – including on his head, arms, legs, feet and torso – and 25 sites of bruising on his scalp, face, and neck that raised “serious concerns about non-accidental injury”.

The youngster was also found to have 20 areas of bruising on his arms and eight on his chest and stomach, it was said.

Giving evidence, Dr Lyle told jurors: “I’m not sure that outside of obvious traumatic situations I’ve ever seen a child found dead at home with this number of injuries to the head and face.”

In his police interview, Hughes recalled "slapping him on the back of the head" and giving him a Coca Cola as would "rather have him choking than have him give me nothing".

He then told officers: "I put Arthur in this position. I'm accountable."

The dad added: "There's a long ways to go but I'm guilty of it. I don't want other people to suffer for my ignorance, my neglect.

"My mum, my dad. I don't want them to suffer. I don't want Emma to suffer."


Hughes also allegedly asked a doctor to "apologise to Arthur on his behalf to tell him that he was sorry" when told nothing could be done to save the boy.

Tustin and Hughes are accused of multiple counts of child cruelty, after forcing Arthur to endure "systematic, cruel behaviour" of "physical and psychological" abuse in the weeks before his death.

He added: "I looked back during the last few days and did start to think this is going too far."

Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said: "Both defendants participated in a campaign of cruelty intended to cause Arthur significant harm and suffering.

"Violence and intimidation, both physical and verbal, were routine.

“Arthur’s visible injuries, his miserable physical condition and obvious despair provided each defendant with a daily reminder of the lengths to which the other would go to cause him harm.”

Arthur's death came three months after his father had moved into Tustin's home, Coventry Crown Court was told.


Before the move, the youngster was "cherished by all" and lived a "stable" life with his father and extended family, in an annexe in the garden of Arthur's paternal grandparents.

He had been placed in his dad's care after his mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 26, was jailed for 18 years for stabbing her boyfriend to death.

Tustin has admitted child cruelty by ill-treating Arthur on multiple occasions by "forcing him to stand, isolating him within the family home, and physically or verbally intimidating him".

Hughes denies a similar charge.

The pair also deny murder and an allegation of child cruelty by administering salt to Arthur between June 1 and 17 last year.

Both are jointly accused of two counts of child cruelty by assault on multiple occasions and also by withholding food and/or drink.

The trial continues.

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