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Thomas Hughes, 29, and his girlfriend Emma Tustin, 32, are jointly accused of murder after Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was found with an 'unsurvivable brain injury' at his home in Solihull, Warwickshire.

'Bullying' parents 'poisoned' their six-year-old son with salt and made him endure months of abuse before murdering him by 'banging his head against a hard surface ', a court has heard.

Jonas Hankin QC, for the prosecution, told jurors : "You 'll note her account including the suggestion Arthur had headbutted her during the incident, and you will also have noted she felt it necessary to say Arthur had treated them like s**t- in that context, in those circumstances."

the jury was also told that arthur had been in the sole care of his father after his natural mother, olivia labinjo, was convicted of a killing in february 2019.

The pair deny murder.

In April 2020, it emerged children's social services and police were alerted by his paternal grandmother to concerns about Arthur's care.

extended family had seen bruises on arthur's back, and he said tustin had 'called him an ugly, horrible brat" and shoved him headfirst into the stairs.

Thomas Hughes, 29, and his girlfriend Emma Tustin, 32, are jointly accused of murder after Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (right) was found with an 'unsurvivable brain injury' at his home in Solihull, Warwickshire

Tustin reportedly carried out the fatal assault while in sole care of Arthur, and fetched her mobile phone to take a photograph of the youngster as he lay dying in the hallway.

Prosecutors said despite having her phone, she took 12 minutes to call 999, telling medics Arthur "fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times".

arthur was "segregated and isolated for up to 14 hours a day ”, often made to stay on the step next to the hallway by the front door, and prevented from having food and drink.

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

Mr Hankin told the jury at Coventry Crown Court that 'Arthur was made to sleep on the living room floor' at Tustin's home and that after his death 'a duvet was found in a cupboard under the stairs'

The prosecutor said Tustin recorded more than 200 audio files of Arthur in 'various stages of distress ', took pictures and videos of him suffering and sent them to Hughes.

in one recording, arthur said, "please help me, help me uncle, they 're not feeding me, i need some food and a drink"

in another example the boy was shown standing by the fridge as punishment, and numerous audio clips were played of him 'crying and wailing" for long periods.

Hughes allegedly texted Tustin, telling her : 'Tell him not to move a muscle- put him by the fridge, put him outside or wherever, give him away.

In June last year, Hughes told a neighbour in Solihull (above): 'If you hear anyone saying "don't kill me", ignore it, I'm not hurting him.'

One witness said the previously happy and healthy boy looked "as though he were broken" on the day of his death.

The same witness said that when Arthur 'secretly' asked him for a drink of water, while Hughes and Tustin were out of the room, 'he had to hold ( the glass ) to Arthur's mouth' because the child was 'too weak to hold it himself '.

Opening the case on Thursday, Mr Hankin said : "His clothes looked dirty, his lips cracked, he could barely open his mouth to speak, his hair was dirty, his nails were dirty and he looked malnourished, gaunt and worn-out."

Mr Hankin said : 'The evidence you will hear, the prosecution say, indicates Arthur was physically and verbally abused, isolated, access to food and drink were controlled or restricted, he was deprived of basic living comforts; a bed, clothing.

Arthur's natural mother Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow (left), 26, was previously caged for 18 years after she knifed boyfriend Gary Cunningham (right) 12 times in a drunken rage at their home

"and he suffered psychological maltreatment- bullying, in ordinary language."

Tustin and Hughes exchanged messages referring to Arthur in derogatory terms, and there were "many examples of threats of violence".

In some of the audio recordings he was heard begging for help from his 'nanny' and paternal uncles.

on other occasions, hughes messaged tustin telling her, 'just end him' and' i 'll fill him in when i get back ”.

Emma Tustin, 32, allegedly took 12 minutes to dial 999 and took photographs of the youngster as he lay dying in the hallway

In June last year, Hughes told a neighbour : 'If you hear anyone saying 'don't kill me ', ignore it, I'm not hurting him. '

Mr Hankin told the jury at Coventry Crown Court that 'Arthur was made to sleep on the living room floor' at Tustin's home and that after his death' a duvet was found in a cupboard under the stairs '.

Medical evidence revealed the young boy died from a "head trauma inflicted on him by an adult, the most likely mechanism being that he had been vigorously shaken and his head banged repeatedly against a hard surface".

notes from hospital doctors who treated him after his collapse at the two-bed house tustin shared with hughes also been "poisoned with salt' and had suffered extensive bruising.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died in hospital several hours after he was found unresponsive at a house on Cranmore Road in Shirley, near Birmingham

Jurors were shown photographs of Arthur in the house as he was 'compelled' into 'forcibly standing in isolation and he would be punished for unauthorised movements, including attempts to sit down '.

Mr Hankin said emergency services were called to the home to reports that Arthur had "sustained a self-inflicted head injury at his stepmother's home address", with paramedics noting a “ large bruise ” on his forehead.

He suffered a cardiac arrest, but medics got his heart beating and rushed him to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Examinations showed Arthur had 'extensive bruising over all parts of his body ', and a CT scan showed bleeding on the brain and 'damage within the brain itself, which was due to a shortage of oxygen and blood supply '.

Mr Hankin told the jury at Coventry Crown Court that 'Arthur was made to sleep on the living room floor' at Tustin's home and that after his death 'a duvet was found in a cupboard under the stairs'

his head injuries were unsurvivable and arthur died shortly before 1am on 17 june.

On the first day of the trial, Ms Tustin admitted child cruelty by ill-treating, while Mr Hughes denies a similar charge.

hughes and tustin also face an allegation of child cruelty by administering salt to arthur between june 1 and 17 last year.

Hughes, of Stroud Road, and Tustin, of Cranmore Road, deny the charges and the trial continues.

Hughes (left) is accused of forcing his son to endure 'physical and psychological' abuse in the weeks before his death

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