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Highlights

  • The couple had an arranged marriage in early 2006 which took place in Pakistan
  • 'This case concerns a cowardly attack on a defenceless three-year-old boy,' said prosecution
  • Boy suffered serious burns in attack which was attempt to discredit man's wife, court heard

A father has been found guilty of plotting an acid attack on his three-year-old son in an attempt to win custody by manufacturing evidence that his ex-wife had failed to care for their child.

The youngster suffered serious burns to his face and arm after sulphuric acid was sprayed at him in a shop as his family were looking for a birthday present.

Worcester crown court was told the 40-year-old father, a former factory worker and taxi driver, arranged the attack to discredit his wife.

The father - who cannot be named to protect the identity of his son - was unanimously convicted by a jury after nine hours of deliberations at Worcester crown court.

Jurors also convicted co-conspirators Adam Cech, Jan Dudi, Norbert Pulko, Jabar Paktia and Saied Hussini of plotting to spray sulphuric acid on the boy with intent to harm.

Deliberations were continuing for Martina Badiova, on trial alongside the men, who was facing the same charge.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the attack, and heard the injured child screamed "I hurt" after being struck.

Jonathan Rees QC, prosecuting, said the father was the "driving force" behind the attack, which took place at 2pm on 21 July last year at Shrub Hill retail park in Worcester.

He told the court the defendant had taken the separation from his wife badly and plotted the assault in anger after he felt humiliated in front of his Muslim family.

'Cowardly attack'

Rees told the jury: "This case concerns a cowardly attack on a defenceless three-year-old boy in which he was squirted with a solution of sulphuric acid.

"At the time of the attack, the little boy was with his mother and his older brother and sister. The family had been shopping for a birthday present."

The boy suffered a 10cm burn to his left forearm, and a 3cm burn on his forehead, which needed specialist hospital treatment.

The court was also told the group planned to target the boy outside his primary school a week before the incident but backed out at the last minute, and also ran a series of reconnaissance missions before carrying out the acid attack at the retail park.

Giving evidence via video link, the man's wife said the couple had an arranged marriage in early 2006 which took place in Pakistan.

She told jurors she decided to leave her husband, who is originally from Afghanistan, in 2012 but he called "begging and crying", urging her to return. When she did go home after three days, she said he told her she had "humiliated" him.

The woman filed for divorce in August 2017 and the father was allowed to see his children once a fortnight in a supervised contact centre.