Couple exchanged vile texts abusing boy, 6, before killing him during lockdown

Terrorising text messages were amongst the evidence used to convict a woman of murdering her six-year-old stepson.

Emma Tustin was jailed today for a minimum of 29 years over the torture and killing of little Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, while her partner, Arthur's dad Thomas Hughes, was sentenced to 21 years in prison for manslaughter.

Arthur collapsed from catastrophic head injuries and was rushed to hospital on June 16 last year but it was determined nothing could be done to save him and he died at 1am the following morning, Birmingham Live reports.

The trial took a number of twists and turns as the prosecution detailed how Arthur was made to stand in isolation for up to 14 hours a day, was assaulted, deprived of food and water as well as poisoned with salt.

A court also heard how Tustin obsessively recorded more than 200 voice notes of Arthur during the lockdown and also sent several WhatsApp messages that exposed the violence the child was exposed to.

The voice notes were sent to Hughes when he was out of the home to 'report' his son's behaviour – but many were deemed to be so distressing that Judge Mark Wall dissuaded the prosecution from playing all of them.

But some of the memos will last long in the memory, in particular, Arthur crying for his grandmother and uncle saying repeatedly 'no-one loves me' and 'no-one is going to feed me'.

In another, the fear-stricken boy yelled 'daddy's going to throw me out the window'.

Tustin could be heard 'policing' Arthur in some of the clips barking 'stand still, stand still'.

Tustin claimed the purpose of the voice notes was to 'cover my own back' but all it did was underline her inhumane treatment of her stepson.

Hughes was seemingly unmoved by the sound of his boy crying over and over again. He said the messages were so constant they became 'boring', and he stopped listening to them.

WhatsApp messages between Tustin and Hughes became increasingly malevolent. He told Tustin to 'just end' Arthur, 'take his jaw off' and 'gag' him, while he threatened to 'take his neck off' and 'dash my food off his head'.

The day before Arthur died he joked about paying someone to 'dig Arthur's grave'.

Tustin was equally vile. In one message she said 'f****** launch this lying little f***' and in another, she warned she was 'going to chin this little c***'.

Tustin also laid her cards on the table to Hughes over text and said: "I want you but not him."

The monster even had the gall to claim the boy was making her life 'hell'.

Tustin saw Arthur as an enemy and threat to her relationship with Hughes. She made multiple references to him 'winning'.

After weeks of harrowing evidence at Coventry Crown Court, a jury found his father Thomas Hughes, 29, guilty of manslaughter, and his step-mother Emma Tustin, 32, guilty of murder.

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