Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ stepmum felt sorry for herself and never mentioned six-year-old, says cellmate

·2 min read

The “evil” stepmother who murdered Arthur Labinjo-Hughes never mentioned the six-year-old while awaiting trial, her formerprison cellmate claimed.

Emma Tustin was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 29 years at Coventry Crown Court on Friday after being found guilty of torturing and murdering her stepson.

Tustin, 32, repeatedly banged Arthur’s head on a hard surface in the hours leading up to his death. She and 29-year-old Thomas Hughes, the child’s father carried out a campaign of abuse, including starvation and then force-feeding him food covered in salt.

Mr Hughes was jailed for 21 years for manslaughter after encouraging the “evil” killing.

Now Elaine Pritchard - who shared a cell with Tustin at Eastwood Park prison in Gloucestershire for six weeks while she was on remand last year - has spoken out.

Watch: Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Tustin and Hughes 'must never see light of day again', says grandfather of six-year-old

She told the Sunday Mirror the “wicked” stepmother had been wallowing in self-pity.

“She always felt sorry for herself. One day she came back from a plea hearing and was upset, so I asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ She said, ‘He didn’t look at me, Tom never looked at me’. That was the only time I saw her upset about anything.” She said.

In the interview, she recalled how Tustin would “laugh and joke” on the phone. She claimed the stepmother once threatened to never let her mother see her grandchildren again unless she retracted statements made about Arthur. 

Elaine said the pair had a fight after she discovered why Tustin was in prison after reading her case paperwork.

Arthur was left with an unsurvivable brain injury (Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow/PA) (PA Media)
Arthur was left with an unsurvivable brain injury (Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow/PA) (PA Media)

She said: “We had a fight – it was me more than her. I got angry because I’d read about how he [Arthur] had 130 bruises and I asked how she wouldn’t notice when she gave him a bath. She said she just used to give him a towel.”

Elaine said inmates laced her food with salt after learning that she did the same to Arthur. 

She said: “Some of the things we did were cruel – but she was crueller to Arthur so she deserved it.”

It comes as the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) confirmed on Saturday afternoon that it would review the sentences handed to the couple to “determine whether they were too low”.

The AGO has 28 days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme, and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the Court of Appeal.

Watch: Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Government confirms review into six-year-old’s murder

Solihull MP Julian Knight, who laid flowers at the shrine for Arthur, revealed he plans to lobby for longer sentences for the “evil monsters”.

In a video posted on Twitter, Mr Knight said: “We need to get to the bottom of how this happened and we need to ensure that those who have failed him are accountable. But also, I think anyone reflecting on those sentences yesterday thinks they were too lenient.

“My intention is to refer this to the Unduly Lenient Sentencing scheme as soon as possible. And I will be doing that on Monday morning.”

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