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‘Selfish’ father was ‘handing over acid’ before attack on his son

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The 40-year-old is alleged to have plotted an attack during a drawn-out custody battle with his estranged wife.

Worcester acid attack

An “arrogant and selfish” father in the midst of a custody battle was “handing over acid” in a pub car park hours before it was used to burn his son, a court heard.

The youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered serious injuries to his face and arm at the Home Bargains store in Worcester on July 21 last year.

The 40-year-old man has denied a charge of conspiring to squirt sulphuric acid on the boy between June 1 and July 22, 2018, with intent to harm.

A trial jury at Worcester Crown Court previously heard how the injured child screamed “I hurt”, over and over again, after being struck.

The Crown has alleged the father “enlisted others” to attack the youngster, after his wife walked out on him, taking the children, in 2016.

POLICE Acid
Location of the acid attack in Worcester, in July 2018 (PA Graphics/PA)

Prosecuting, Jonathan Rees QC cross-examined the father on Tuesday, accusing him of doing “everything” to conceal his involvement, including allegedly lying to police in interview.

The Crown’s barrister said: “I suggest you are an arrogant and selfish man, aren’t you?

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“You planned this acid attack on your three-year-old son.”

The father, speaking through a Dari interpreter, said: “This is not the truth, I would never do this.

“It would never enter my mind.”

On trial facing the same charge are Adam Cech, 27, of Farnham Road and Jan Dudi, 25, of Cranbrook Road, both Birmingham, and Norbert Pulko, 22, of Sutherland Road, London.

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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.

They all deny the allegation.

Worcester acid attack
CCTV footage from the Home Bargains store in Worcester (West Mercia Police)

Earlier, Mr Rees claimed the boy’s father had constructed a “tissue of lies” after alleging, in evidence, that he believed Badiova to be a “social worker” who might help with his custody battle.

In response, the father told the jury: “No, this is not a lie.”

The man, from Wolverhampton but originally from Afghanistan, had also claimed he had never met Pulko, who the Crown allege he met in a pub car park on the morning of the attack.

Telephone evidence showed the father’s phone had been used to make two calls to Pulko’s phone in Smetwick, West Midlands, on July 17.

Worcester acid attack
A woman said to be Martina Badiova, pictured by a resident who reported three people acting ‘suspiciously’ on July 13 (West Mercia Police/PA)

Cell-site data also showed his handset, Pulko’s and Paktia’s all in close proximity, that afternoon.

However, the father replied he had merely taken Paktia to “an Afghan bakery” in the area – and never met Pulko.

He claimed the calls were made by Paktia, who had borrowed his phone at the time.

Mr Rees alleged that the father next met Pulko, when CCTV showed both men’s cars in the car park of the Blackpole Inn pub, Worcester, on the morning of the attack.

But the father previously gave evidence claiming he was there to meet “social worker” Badiova and “private investigator” Hussini, when he was “approached by a white boy, asking for money”.

Instead of waiting, the father claimed that he drove off.

Mr Rees said: “You’re not telling the truth about this meeting either, are you?

“This was, I suggest, all about handing over the acid.”

The father replied: “That’s not true.”

Worcester acid attack
Two men said to be Saied Hussini and Norbert Pulko, ahead of an ‘aborted attack’ on July 13 (West Mercia Police/PA)

Mr Rees then alleged that, after the attack, the father sent an image to Paktia’s phone in reference to the fact his son had been successfully attacked.

He asked: “That is why, almost in celebration, that evening, you sent Mr Paktia the image with ‘Nailed It!’.”

Becoming emotional, the father switched to English, and told the court: “That’s not the truth, that’s my child, that’s my heart, my blood.

“That’s not the truth.”

The father had claimed he was not aware of the attack on his little boy until police arrested him on July 22.

The trial continues.

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