HEARTBREAKING pictures show Arthur Labinjo-Hughes smiling happily in the months before shocking abuse at the hands of his evil step-mum.
Depraved Emma Tustin, 32, and Arthur’s dad Thomas, 29, have been jailed for waging a sick "campaign of cruelty" that ended in the six-year-old's murder.
Arthur's happy face is in contrast to the emaciated and terrified little boy, filmed sobbing on the last day of his life after being forced to sleep on the living room floor.
"Wicked" Tustin was convicted of murder and jailed for life after repeatedly smashing Arthur's head against a hard surface at the house of horrors in Shirley, West Mids.
Arthur's "pitiless" dad Hughes was caged for 21 years after being found guilty of manslaughter.
New pictures show a happy, smiling Arthur with his biological mum Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow, 29.
In one he beams as he wears a Superman t-shirt, while in another he looks at the camera with a big smile as he carries a Build-a-Bear teddy bear rucksack.
Another picture shows him goofing around with a pair of his mum’s glasses that are too big for his little face.
Labinjo-Halcrow is herself in prison, serving an 18 year sentence for killing her partner her partner Gary Cunningham.
She stabbed the 29-year-old by stabbing 12 times with a kitchen knife in a drunken rage in February 2019.
In August that year, Hughes met Emma Tustin through the Plenty of Fish dating website.
The couple moved with Arthur into her home when the government declared a national lockdown in March 2020.
Labinjo-Halcrow paid tribute to Arthur in a statement from her prison cell.
"Arthur was the light of my life. He wasn't just my only child – he was my best friend," she said.
"Never did I imagine he would be taken from this world so early in his life.
It comes as…
- Emma Tustin and Thomas Hughes were jailed for killing Arthur
- The trial heard harrowing evidence that helped snare the killer pair
- Arthur's mum paid tribute from a jail cell where she is serving time for stabbing her lover to death
- Dramatic bodycam showed Tustin crying fake tears while talking to police
- A probe has been launched after Arthur's plight was ignored by police, social services and teachers
- The moment Tustin told 999 that Arthur 'threw himself on the floor' was released
- A tragic timeline of Arthur's death shows the missed chances by the authorities
- Arthur's gran slammed his selfish killer for acting like his death 'inconvenienced’ her
- It emerged Tustin aborted a baby in custody and twice attempted suicide
"If Arthur could ask for one last thing, it would be that he was remembered for his superpower. That will always be what I remember and Arthur's superpower was his smile."
Arthur was "cherished by all" to start with while living with his dad and family in an annexe at his paternal grandparents' home.
But the "stable" life he briefly enjoyed became rooted in evil once more when Hughes began a relationship with Emma Tustin.
Little Arthur was segregated for 14 hours a day and forced to sleep on the floor in a brutal struggle that matched the “medical definition of child torture”.
He was also poisoned with so much salt he was too weak to even put up a fight against his torturers' horrific abuse.
On June 16 last year, Tustin repeatedly smashed the youngster's head against a hard surface causing him to collapse.
Arthur’s gran Joanne Hughes has said “I have failed” after her efforts to raise concerns with social services were unanswered.
As the evil pair were sentenced, Boris Johnson said he found it “hard to read” about the case “let alone to understand how people could behave like that to a defenceless little child”.
He promised to get to the bottom of why nothing was done to save Arthur, as social services, police and social workers face questions about their role.
"And it is early days, but I can tell you this, we will leave absolutely no stone unturned to find out exactly what went wrong in that appalling case,” he added.
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