A FATHER has been accused of plotting an acid attack on his young son to “mark the child” in a bid to win back his estranged wife, a court heard.
The youngster, whose identity is suppressed, suffered serious burns to his face and arm at a Home Bargains store in Worcester on July 21.
The attack allegedly came during a parental custody dispute.
The 40-year-old father is charged with conspiring to unlawfully or maliciously cast or throw sulphuric acid on or at the boy, with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable the minor, or do grievous bodily harm.
It is alleged the father “enlisted others” to attack the youngster, after his wife walked out on him, taking the children, in 2016.
A trial jury at Worcester Crown Court has heard how the injured child screamed “I hurt”, over and over.
Facing the same charge as the father are Adam Cech, 27, of Farnham Road and Jan Dudi, 25, of Cranbrook Road, both Birmingham and Norbert Pulko, 22, of Sutherland Road, London.
Also accused are Martina Badiova, 22, of Newcombe Road, Handsworth, Birmingham; Jabar Paktia, 42, of Newhampton Road, Wolverhampton, and Saied Hussini, of Wrottesley Road, London.
The father agreed with Hussini’s barrister Lauren Soertsz that after his wife had filed for divorce in August 2017, he had become “obsessed” with the outcome of family court proceedings.
Soertsz also put several allegations to the father, based on conversations his 42-year-old co-accused alleged had happened between the two men.
Soertsz said: “What you said your solicitor had stated is that you should mark the child and then blame the mother.”
The father replied: “Never. I never said that.
“I would never talk about my children like that.
Soertsz continued: “You said that the mother would be forced to abandon her divorce proceedings and return to you.”
“You knew if you got the children, she would never be separated from them and she would return to you.
“You had found somebody who could mark your child, with a sharp object.”
He replied: “This is not the truth.”
The father also denied showing Hussini a badminton racquet adapted to have a “knife blade” in its wooden handle.
He also denied telling Hussini he would give the weapon to the person “to use to mark your child”, and that he had found someone to carry out the job for £5,000.
The court heard how only weeks before the shop attack a final hearing to determine custody had been postponed.
However, a social worker’s report, prepared for both parents, had reportedly granted custody in favour of the mother.
Soertsz then put to the father he had “told Mr Hussini you had that week in which to harm one of your children.
The next day, her client Hussini allegedly told the father: “He had found someone who had a better option than cutting the child and would do it for £3,000.”
She alleged that the father had gone with Paktia and Hussini to meet Pulko, who was the person who first suggested using acid.
Soertsz said: “Pulko suggested that the better option to mark the child was using acid.”
The father replied: “If I don’t know Mr Pulko, how could I have ever discussed that?”
Jurors also heard of an “aborted” attempt on the child eight days before the shop attack.
Soertsz alleged it was her client’s account that the father, a former factory worker, had then sourced the acid, a claim he denied in court.
On Hussini’s account, Miss Soertsz said it was alleged that, by July 11, the father had handed Pulko a £1,500 down-payment for the attack.
The July 13 attack was abandoned, although CCTV showing the reported run-up to the alleged operation and Pulko walking near the mother and child.
The video was played in court.
Hussini is alleged to have told the father they had done the deed.
But three days later the father had contacted Hussini and said he didn’t believe he’d marked the child.
She said: “In that argument you said he’d taken your money and you’d ruined his life as the 13th of July had been the last chance to get the children back.
He (Hussini) replied he’d done what was right, he’d helped the family and he also said that you were not a man.”
The father replied: “Not true.”
The trial continues