The harrowing last recorded moments of a ‘tortured’ six-year-old boy show him struggling to pick up his duvet from the floor where he was forced to sleep for days on end – just hours before he was allegedly murdered by his father and stepmother.
The heart-wrenching clip, captured on CCTV, shows an emaciated Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, whose pyjamas appear to be hanging off him, grimace in pain as he tries to pick up his cover and special Avengers pillow.
The distressing footage was shown to jurors at Coventry Crown Court on Tuesday, where Thomas Hughes, 29, and Emma Tustin, 32, are accused of killing Arthur at their home in Solihull, West Midlands, on June 17 last year.
In the haunting video, filmed just hours earlier on June 16, the tragic boy is seen struggling to stand before slumping to the floor of the living room.
Arthur cries ‘no-one loves me’ four times as he struggles to walk to the other side of the room while appearing to be suffering from a limp.
It takes him more than two whole minutes to be able to stand up, pick up his duvet and walk the distance of about two metres to a door leading to another room.
In audio clips released alongside the video by West Midlands Police, played to the court today, little Arthur is also heard saying ‘no-one is going to feed me’ seven times in 44 seconds.
The court heard the youngster suffered an unsurvivable brain injury after being subjected to a campaign of cruelty which amounted to the ‘medical definition of child torture’.
This included being deprived of food, made to stand for 14 hours a day and being poisoned with salt, jurors were told.
Hughes and Tustin deny murdering Arthur and multiple counts of child cruelty.
The release of the audio clips on Tuesday come after voice notes of Arthur crying sent from Tustin’s phone have been prominent over the course of the trial.
The jury heard Tustin would often message Hughes within minutes of him leaving the home with an audio file of Arthur crying accompanied by a text saying words to the effect of ‘started again’ or ‘still going.’
The prosecution said Tustin recorded more 200 voice notes during a three-month period.
Arthur has been heard calling for his uncle and grandmother in some of them.
He has also been recorded asking for a drink, while in other clips Tustin’s voice could be heard saying ‘stand still’ and issuing other similar instructions.
On Tuesday jurors were played the CCTV footage of Arthur struggling to move his duvet after being forced to sleep in the living room for the fifth day in a row.
In what were the final hours of Arthur’s life, jurors were told he was so weak and frail he could barely lift the covers as he woke up on the morning of June 16 last year.
The schoolboy was later killed as a result of having his head banged ‘repeatedly against a hard surface’ at the hands of Tustin, it is alleged.
Arthur’s uncle Blake Hughes told the court last month the youngster broke out in tears after claiming that Tustin had pushed him against a wall and branded him ‘ugly’.
He told the court: ‘He said his mum didn’t love him and had abandoned him.
‘He then started to break out crying. He went on to say nobody loved him.’
Jurors have been told how Tustin would send Hughes voice notes of Arthur crying whenever he left the house.
Hughes would reply with messages such as ‘dig Arthur’s grave’, ‘I’ll take his neck off,’ and the ‘kid is getting it when I get back”.
He also sent texts saying that he would take his ‘c*****g jaw off his shoulders’ and told his partner ‘put him out with the rubbish’.
Earlier this week Hughes admitted he would also use ‘pressure points on Arthur’s neck to discipline him’ after seeing videos about police brutality in the US online.
He said he would use these pressure points for ‘about 10 to 15 seconds’ to ‘help discipline him.’
Prosecutor Jonas Hankin said the pair routinely physically and verbally abused Arthur to cause him ‘significant harm and suffering’.
He told the court previously: ‘Neither can begin to justify what they did to him. Arthur was a defenceless child entirely dependent on them for his well-being.
‘Arthur became a target for derision, abuse and systematic cruelty designed to cause him significant physical and mental suffering for reasons which are unfathomable.’
Arthur was taken to Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and his life support was turned off in intensive care at 1am on June 17.
Hughes and Tustin, of Shirley, West Midlands, both deny Arthur’s murder.
Arthur had moved into the care of his father after his mother, Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, was accused of killing her new partner in February 2019.
Hughes met mother-of-four Tustin online before the couple moved with Arthur into her home near Solihull in the West Midlands when the Government introduced a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court heard social workers were called to the home two months prior to Arthur’s death after his grandmother raised concerns about bruises on his back, but no further action was taken.
Mr Hankin, though, told the court that Hughes plotted to deceive social workers by coaching Arthur and Tustin’s son to lie about the injuries.
The trial continues.