WARNING – DISTRESSING DETAILS: A six-year-old boy found dead at his home warned numerous people, including his doctor, that his dad was going to kill him, a court has heard.
Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died from a head injury last year and his father Thomas Hughes, 29, and his partner Emma Tustin, 32, are on trial for murder.
They are also facing child cruelty charges, the BBC reports. Both deny the charges.
He was found unresponsive in his family home in Solihull, in the UK, and later died on June 17 in hospital.
Tustin has pleaded guilty to two counts of child cruelty but denies a third count accusing her of poisoning Arthur by lacing his drinks and food with salt, the publication reports.
Defence barrister Mary Prior QC said in her closing arguments this week that Tustin will “pay a heavy price” for letting “that little boy suffer”, The Independent reported.
Ms Prior told the court that when Arthur was five, before his dad and step-mother began dating, he told relatives, his doctor and his school that Hughes had been threatening his life.
Arthur — whose biological mum is already behind bars for murder — warned people “for well over a year and nobody listened”, Ms Prior said, the Independent reports.
“He was going to die and he was going to die because Thomas Hughes was in charge of Arthur’s life and Arthur’s life consisted of nothing other than misery,” she said.
Alleged abuse was 'a team effort', prosecutors say
Prosecutors say Hughes and Tustin are both culpable of murdering Arthur but that he died after Tustin allegedly banged his head against a hard surface after giving him a “salt slurry”, the BBC reports.
"In the weeks preceding Arthur's death, he had been subjected to incomprehensible and escalating cruelty that was intended to, and did, cause him significant harm and suffering," Prosecutor Jonas Hankin QC said in his closing statements this week.
He branded the abuse "a team effort”, the publication reports.
Tustin claims that Arthur’s “unsurvivable” head injury was self-inflicted.
The court previously heard that Hughes had sent Tustin several disturbing text messages such as “dig Arthur’s grave” before the six-year-old’s death.
The jury for the murder trial has retired and is now deliberating the verdict.
Boy's harrowing cries hours before murder
Arthur cried out for hours before he was allegedly murdered by his father and stepmother.
According to The Mirror, the court previously heard heartbreaking voice messages of Arthur, crying out.
"No one loves me,” the six-year-old says in one of the messages.
“No one is going to feed me,” he says in another.
In CCTV taken the day before Arthur died, he can be seen in the family's living room struggling to stand and carry his blanket. He appears to be crying.
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