Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’s killer didn’t show remorse and only felt sorry for herself in prison, her cellmate has said.
This week Emma Tustin, 32, was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 29 years for killing her six-year-old step-son.
While in remand during the trial, she shared a cell with a prisoner called Elaine for six weeks at Eastwood Park prison, Gloucestershire.
The former cellmate claimed that the murderous step-mum never once mentioned Arthur or his death.
Arthur’s father, Thomas Hughes, 29, was sentenced to 21 years for manslaughter – but Tustin was said to have been upset that he was cold to her during their trial.
“She always felt sorry for herself,” Elaine told the Sunday Mirror.
“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.”
Elaine had been recalled to jail for battery and criminal damage.
She said Tustin used to “laugh and joke” on the phone.
Elaine claimed the mum of four told her own mother she would never see her grandchildren again unless she retracted statements about Arthur.
She only discovered the truth about the charges Tustin was facing when she found and read her case paperwork.
“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 added.
“She said she just used to give him a towel.
“I pressed the bell and said if the prison officers didn’t get her out then I’d be staying there a long time.”
Tustin was moved to a different cell. But Elaine said after inmates learned how Tustin poisoned Arthur with salt, they laced her meals with it.
She said: “Some of the things we did were cruel – but she was crueller to Arthur so she deserved it.”
Today dozens of residents paid a touching tribute to Arthur outside the house in Solihull where he was killed.
Organised by a local resident, the vigil saw people laying flowers, holding balloons and placing posters and banners paying tribute to Arthur at the property.
His maternal grandmother Madeleine Halcrow could be seen wiping away tears at the vigil while wearing a T-shirt bearing his face.
The crowd lined the road before letting go of the balloons, some bearing messages, and applauding.
Residents, some with tears in their eyes, could be heard saying “bye Arthur” and “fly high always”.
They then formed a line outside the house before balloons, posters and flowers were placed around the property.
The words “You are loved Arthur” were put on the boarded-up window.
A Birmingham City flag was also placed at the scene, along with a picture of Arthur.
The Government has announced a major review into the circumstances which led to the murder, aiming to determine what improvements are needed by the agencies that came into contact with Arthur before his death.
The National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel will lead the review and will provide additional support to Solihull Children’s Safeguarding Partnership.
It emerged in court the boy had been seen by social workers just two months before his death, but they concluded there were “no safeguarding concerns”.