A dad accused of murdering his six-year-old told him to "watch you little c***" or he would "bury him six feet under", a court has heard.
Birmingham City fan Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was found unresponsive at a home in Solihull, on June 16 last year.
His dad Thomas Hughes, aged 29 and his girlfriend Emma Tustin, aged 32, have been accused of murdering the child, which they deny.
A trial at Coventry Crown Court heard on Thursday how Tustin's beautician Catherine Milhench witnessed the couple "attacking and swearing" at the child, who "didn't look happy", Birmingham Live reports.
Prosecuting Jonas Hankin QC asked Ms Milhench about having the couple and Arthur over at hers on June 16 for a hair appointment that had resumed from the previous day.
She said the first thing she noticed was that the six-year-old was wearing the same clothes he wore on the previous day.
Tributes were left outside a home in Solihull for Arthur, who died on June 17 of a head injury
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She then told the court how Arthur was brought into the house "by the scruff of his neck again" by Hughes, who would also insist the boy responded to him with "yes sir".
That while the defendants would be "constantly calling him a little c***," Ms Milhench said, "telling him to stand up. It was back and forwards between them both. Both shouting. Like a game of tennis."
She went on to describe how her partner Tobias "snuck" Arthur a drink of water "without them knowing. He told me he had to hold the cup for him. He couldn't hold it. He was asking for more."
Mr Hankin asked her what happened when her own son ran into the house with a football, to which she said: "Arthur moved.
Thomas Hughes, aged 29 and his girlfriend Emma Tustin, aged 32, deny murdering Arthur
"Tom shouted he'll rip his head off and use it as a football. Also shouted loads of other stuff. Watch you little c***, I will bury you six feet under."
Ms Milhench said Arthur "stumbled again" as they left her home that day, because he was "physically weak".
She confirms neither Tustin or Hughes helped him up, "they just stood there".
Ms Milhench went on to say she had tried to suggest to Tustin that Arthur returned to school if "things were bad at home".
But she said Tustin replied saying "he can't because they would see the bruises. She [Tustin] said it was what Tom had caused to Arthur."
It is alleged Tustin carried out the fatal assault while in sole care of Arthur at her home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, and fetched her mobile phone immediately afterwards to take a photograph of the youngster as he lay in the hallway.
Prosecutors claim that, despite having her phone, she took 12 minutes to call 999, telling medics that Arthur "fell and banged his head and while on the floor banged his head another five times".
He died at Birmingham Children's Hospital on June 17. A post-mortem examination confirmed his death was caused by a head injury.
Hughes, 29, and Tustin, 32, deny murder and child cruelty. The trial continues.