A "BULLY" dad and stepmum branded his six-year-old son a "little t***and vowed to "fill him in" in WhatsApp messages, a court heard.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, suffered “unsurvivable brain injuries” after being allegedly abused by Thomas Hughes, 29, and his partner Emma Tustin, 32.
As the second week of their trial kicked off today, the jury was shown messages sent back and forth between the couple.
Tustin sent Hughes a message on WhatsApp reading: "He has been screaming since you left."
She later told Hughes to "please hurry up" because "I've had enough of the cheek, little t***", Birmingham Mail reports.
A following message from the step mum read: "He's saying let me go or I'm going to stand here and scream you think ignoring me will shut me up. It won't."
Then, on May 25, Hughes sent a message to his partner reading: "I'm going to fill him in if he says I've set him on fire."
Tustin replied writing "Christ man. Little p****", before adding: "He don't wanna be in this family."
One day later, Tustin added: "F***ing launch this lying little f***."
Another message added: "He's screaming he don't care about me and he hates me.
"He hopes the baby goes to heaven like the last one. I want to be daddy's only child. He's going to stamp on my face he's just said."
Hughes reply simply read: "Wow."
The tragic youngster was subjected to a "campaign of cruelty" before his death that matched the “medical definition of child torture”, Coventry Crown Court earlier heard.
Arthur was allegedly poisoned with salt and prevented from having food and drink.
'POISONED WITH SALT'
He was also "segregated and isolated" for "up to 14 hours a day" and deprived of a bed and clothing.
An earlier court appearance heard that, in another set of messages between the pair, Hughes threatened to "take his jaw off his shoulders".
Another sent to Tustin after Hughes received an audio clip of Arthur crying from her read: "Right I'll end him when I'm back then."
One from the dad said: "I'll deal with him when I'm home and it won't be pretty. Get himself to sleep before I get him in."
Jurors heard how on June 16 last year, Arthur was found unresponsive at the home in Solihull.
He died in hospital the next day with a post-mortem giving a cause of death 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 had also been "poisoned with salt" and had suffered extensive bruising over his frail body, it was said.
The court was told Tustin recorded more than 22 pictures and videos of Arthur in distress.
She allegedly carried out the fatal assault and fetched her phone immediately afterwards to photograph the boy as he lay dying in the hallway.
Prosecutors said that 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".
She 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.
The court heard how one witness claimed Arthur was "too weak" to even hold a glass of water to his mouth.
They also 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."
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.”
Jurors have heard how Arthur's death came three months after his father had moved into Tustin's home.
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.
In April 2020, it emerged children's social services and police were alerted by his grandmother to concerns about Arthur's care.
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.
After children's services saw Arthur on April 17, "no concerns were raised", and while photos of the bruises were sent to the police, no further action was taken, it was said.
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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