Dad ‘arranged acid attack on son, 3, in Home Bargains amid custody row with mum’

The boy, who cannot be named, suffered serious burns after he was squirted with acid at the Home Bargains branch in Worcester

A dad organised an acid attack on his three-year-old son during a fierce custody battle with the child’s mother, a court heard today.

The father, who cannot be named to protect his son, is alleged to have plotted with six other suspects because he wanted to “manufacture” evidence against his wife to show she was “unable properly to care for” to child.

But the boy suffered serious burns to his face and arm at the Home Bargains store in Worcester on July 21 last year.

His 40-year-old dad is charged with conspiring to unlawfully or maliciously cast or throw sulphuric acid on or at the boy between June 1 and July 22, with intent to burn, maim, disfigure, or disable the minor, or do some grievous bodily harm to him.

He stands trial at Worcester Crown Court with Adam Cech, 27, Jan Dudi, 25, Norbert Pulko, 22, Martina Badiova, 22, Saied Hussini, 41, and Jabar Paktia, 41, who all deny the same allegation.

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said: “This case concerns a cowardly attack on a defenceless three-year-old boy in which he was squirted with a solution of sulphuric acid.

“As a result of the attack, the little boy suffered acid burns to his left forearm and his forehead which were treated in hospital.

“Thankfully, due to the quick actions of a member of staff, the seriousness of the injuries was limited and, although it is too early to say whether or not there will be any residual marking, the victim had made a good recovery.”

The boy was shopping with his mum and siblings at the time of the alleged offence.

Mr Rees alleged the attack was carried out by Cech.

“It was over almost in the blink of the eye and may have gone undetected were it not for the fact it was captured on the shop’s internal CCTV system,” he said.

“At the time he carried out the attack, Cech was accompanied by two other defendants in the store, namely the third and fourth defendants, Jan Dudi and Norbert Pulko.”

The lawyer told the jury, who were sworn in yesterday, that the alleged attack was not the first time that the child had been targeted.

“The prosecution allege that the driving force behind these events was, in fact, the father of the child.

“In April 2016, his wife had left him taking their three children with her and in due course, she issued divorced proceedings.”

Jurors were told the dad “took the separation badly” and had been granted fortnightly supervised contact with his children by the time of the alleged attack.

Mr Rees added: “However, he was seeking greater access and was pursuing a court application to this effect.

“This application was being opposed by his wife. We say the evidence suggests that in an effort to ensure his application was successful he was willing to manufacture evidence of injuries to his children in an attempt to show that his wife was unable properly to care for them, in other words she was an unfit mother.

“Although the prosecution are not required to prove motive against any of the defendants, we suggest that his desire to show his wife in a bad light may have provided at least some of the motivation for him organising this attack on his son.

“It would enable him to say to the court that the child had sustained nasty injuries while he was in the care of his mother.

“Whilst we say the attack had its roots in his unhappy domestic situation, we allege that he enlisted others to help him carry out his plan.”

The dad, together with Cech, from Handsworth, Birmingham, Dudi, of Handsworth, Pulko, from Walthamstow, east London, Badiova, from Handsworth, Hussini, of Harlesden, northwest London, and Paktia, of Wolverhampton, West Mids, all deny the charge.