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A man accused of being "unthinking and pitiless" and of helping to murder his six-year-old son has told a jury he "probably" valued his new partner's love and affection over the welfare of his child.

He told Coventry Crown Court on Monday that she had "assured" him she would show him "the love, the attention" he wanted.

Prosecutors accused Hughes of being an "utterly ruthless, unthinking and pitiless" parent, but he denied that, along with a further claim that he "relished in abusing" his child.

Giving evidence at their trial, Mr Hughes claimed Ms Tustin had "mentally abused" him into complying with the disciplinary regime, including forcing Arthur to stand for up to 14 hours a day, have food and drink withheld, and suffer "multiple acts of violence".

Hughes replied : "I can not explain it to you."

The boy and his father had been staying at her home during the first COVID lockdown.

Tustin and Hughes deny murdering Arthur, who, jurors previously heard, looked "broken" just a few weeks after he moved into Tustin's home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, West Midlands.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (pictured with his father) died in hospital several hours after he was found unresponsive

The court has previously heard the pair forced the six-year-old to eat salt-laced meals and subjected him to months of abuse likened to "torture".

Ms Tustin, 32, previously claimed that Arthur's fatal head injury was self-inflicted.

mr hankin asked : "did you threaten to take his c*"

Under cross-examination, Mr Hughes, 29, was asked why he did not intervene to protect his son, and said : "When I went to- I was led to believe it wasn't as bad as what I was thinking it was."

Arthur died of an unsurvivable brain injury on after allegedly being murdered while alone with Hughes' partner, Emma Tustin, 32

When asked by prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC whether he valued Ms Tustin's love and attention more than his son's welfare Mr Hughes replied : "Towards the end, probably."

later, hughes said his son "no" to him.

Mr Hankin asked : "Can you tell us how this little boy, who meant the absolute world to you, yet you watched him decline from a happy, chubby, healthy, active boy, to a desperately sad, thin, weak, miserable child ?"

Though not present for the alleged fatal assault, Hughes, of Stroud Road, Solihull, is accused of aiding the killing, and also faces three counts of child cruelty.

Coventry Crown Court, where Hughes and Tustin are standing trial charged with the murder of Arthur

Ms Tustin has admitted one count of child cruelty but denies two other similar charges, as well as the murder charge.

The trial continues.

thomas hughes, 29, subjected arthur labinjo-hughes to a 'persistent campaign of cruelty" during lockdown, a jury was told.

Today, Hughes admitted applying pressure to Arthur's neck using techniques learned from watching videos about police brutality in America.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (right), six, pictured with his dad Thomas Hughes (left), 29, who denies murder and four counts of child cruelty

Hughes also tricked Arthur into the car by pretending he was going to visit his grandparents- a place 'he had felt safe '- but then never went.

Arthur, who was found with 125 areas of bruising on his body, died of an unsurvivable brain injury on June 16 last year after allegedly being murdered while alone with Hughes' partner, Emma Tustin, 32.

hughes and tustin have both pleaded not guilty to murder at coventry crown court he was "mentally abused" into complying with a disciplinary routine.

hughes admitted to, on one occasion, buying ice creams for himself and tustin while arthur was forced to stand by a glass-framed door in a fluffy onesie during a heatwave.

Arthur was also found to have consumed so much salt upon his death that medics at Birmingham Children's Hospital questioned their machinery.

Text messages sent to Tustin included remarks by Hughes to 'fill him in ', 'take his neck off his c***ing shoulders' and 'get nasty ', the court heard.

He also said to 'give him away' and 'put him out with the rubbish ', jurors were told.

Hughes insists he 'never wanted to harm Arthur '.

A witness told the court the child was 'too weak' to hold a glass of water to his mouth the day before he was found collapsed.

When Hughes was asked about the dehydration Arthur had suffered, Hughes admitted to denying him food and water and said he would reject food.

The couple are also accused of depriving Arthur of food and poisoning him with salt.

When social services came to visit the house, he admitted lying about the pictures.

Arthur would get his own way a bit too much there.

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