A six-year-old boy died from ‘unsurvivable head injuries’ after his parents, who were accused of murdering him in a campaign of cruelty’ that lasted several months, called social services secretly to report that he was ‘in threat’.

Arthur Labinjo Hughes was allegedly murdered by his father and stepmother in West Midland after he had suffered ‘targeted terror’ abuse.

The youngster was allegedly denied food and forced to stand in a hallway for 14 hour a day. He would then be subject to beatings, banned friends from playing, and poisoned with salt. He was then attacked at his Solihull home in May this year.

Thomas Hughes, 29 and Emma Tustin 32, both deny murdering and multiple counts of child cruelty. Arthur was found with more 130 bruises following his death by the ‘volatile couple’.

Today, a trial at Coventry Crown Court heard how John Dutton, Tustin’s stepfather, called social services just weeks prior to Arthur’s death. He claimed that the boy would be forced into staring at the wall ‘like a zombie’ after being denied food by his grandparents.

When asked why he called social workers, Mr Dutton said that he thought he was in danger.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, six, was allegedly killed after suffering systemic abuse which matched the 'medical definition of child torture'. His father Thomas Hughes, 29, (pictured with Arthur) and stepmother Emma Tustin, 32, deny murder and child abuse. Tustin's family claim they warned social services about him being 'in danger' weeks before he died

Arthur Labinjo Hughes, six, was allegedly murdered after he suffered systemic abuse that matched the medical definition of child torturing’. His stepfather, Thomas Hughes, 29 (pictured with Arthur), and his mother Emma Tustin (32) deny murdering and abusing children. Tustin’s family claimed that they warned social services weeks before his death about Tustin being in danger.

Tustin (pictured) and Hughes are said to have subjected Arthur to systematic cruelty 'designed to torture' the youngster. They deny murder

Hughes and Tustin (pictured above) are said to have used systematic cruelty ‘designed torture’ on Arthur. They deny the murder

Prosecutors claim that Arthur was subject to months of cruelty by Hughes, Tustin, which matches the’medical definitions of child torture’.

Jurors were told that Hughes ‘dished the discipline’ on his visits to his home. He also admitted to cutting Arthur’s beloved Liverpool and Birmingham City football jerseys. Hughes also confessed that he had slashed Arthur’s beloved Liverpool and Birmingham City football shirts during a visit during the first Covid lockdown.

Football mad Arthur collapsed with 'unsurvivable brain injuries' on Tuesday, June 16, and died the following day

Football mad Arthur died Tuesday, June 16 from ‘unsurvivable brain injury’

Mr Dutton said that he told us he had gone to his town on us and when he was done he went up to the bathroom and cried.

Jonas Hankin QC, the prosecutor, asked Dutton about what that meant. He sobbed, saying, “Belt his life out of him.” He continued, “I was just shocked.” He didn’t look like the type.

According to Mr Dutton, Arthur was denied entry to his house after he called social services. His wife was upset at his treatment.

Arthur said that he was told to face the wall and sit at a table ‘for hours’ when he was brought to their home.

Mr Dutton said that it reached a point where Emma had to stop bringing Arthur into the house. We wouldn’t allow her to bring him into the house, as it was too distressing for my spouse.

“I had to tell Emma that Tom should not bring Emma. Tom would drop Emma off and take Arthur outside with him when Emma arrived.

“I thought it was ridiculous that he was disciplining me and making him sit at a table.

Before the visits were halted, Mr Dutton described how Arthur was not allowed in play with other children. He also said that Arthur went home hungry.

He said, “I asked Tom if he could give me a sandwich and some juice, crisps.

“He would say no, we would feed him when you get home,”

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

Hughes (left), is accused of forcing his son to suffer ‘physical and mental’ abuse in the weeks leading up to his death.

A touching note was left among the floral tributes to six-year-old Arthur at his former home after his death

After Arthur’s death, a touching note was left in the floral tributes for Arthur, six years old.

“All we could give him was water, but he wouldn’t allow us to give him juice.” Mr Dutton continued: ‘[Hughes]He just said that he was naughty. He refused to drink the water most of his time.

“He was never naughty in our home. He was a sweet little boy.

“He always returned with the same answer, he’s my son, I’ll bring his up the way that I want,” he said.

Arthur was taken into Hughes’ full-time care after Olivia LabinjoHalcrow, her new partner, was accused of murdering Gary Cunningham in February 2019.

Hughes was then convicted of Tustin’s murder, jurors were told. Hughes moved into her home on Cranmore Road in Shirley, when the country went into lockdown.

Arthur was allegedly forced to stand in a corridor for most of his waking time, denied food and water, and forced to sleep on the living-room floor.

Prosecutors claim that Tustin killed the youngster while she was at home alone with him and that Hughes ‘intentionally encouraged the killing’.

The trial heard that Arthur’s paternal grandmother Joanne Hughes also referred to Solihull social service to report bruises on her grandson’s shoulders. She claimed that Tustin could have been responsible.

A visit by social services revealed that there were “no safeguarding concerns”. A social worker claimed she could not spot the bruising, despite photos taken only 25 hours prior.

Today, the court was also informed that West Midlands Police also closed down a log after Arthur’s uncle, Daniel Blake, also sent photos of bruising.

Sergeant Lee Norbury stated to jurors that he was satisfied with the ongoing investigation and that there was no need for force response.

“I understood that these were all reported facts and that social services were leading as one agency.”

Tustin claimed that Arthur’s head injuries were self-inflicted in a 999 call 12 minutes after Arthur was unresponsive on June 16. She claimed that he had ‘banged on his head on all fours’ while lying on the ground.

Arthur died the next day from ‘unsurvivable brain injury’.

Tustin pleaded guilty only to one count for child cruelty. However, he denies additional charges. Hughes denies all charges.

Opening the trial, Mr Hankin said to jurors: “Both defendants participated a campaign of cruelty meant to cause Arthur significant harm.

‘Violence was a common form of intimidation, verbal and physically.

“Arthur’s obvious injuries, his poor physical condition, and apparent despair served as a reminder to each defendant of the extremes that the other would go to to cause him harm.

The trial continues.