Hereford & Worcester

Father paid co-accused hours after Worcester acid attack

A screen grab of the footage shown in court earlier Image copyright West Mercia Police
Image caption The boy suffered serious burns to his face and arm in the attack on 21 July

A father said to have organised an acid attack on his three-year-old son has told a court he paid one of his co-accused £500 after the attack.

He and six others deny being involved in the Worcester Home Bargains attack, where the boy was splashed with acid.

Giving evidence, the 40-year-old denied handing a small bottle to one of his co-accused on that day, 21 July.

The man told the court he paid the £500 - one of two payments - to fund private investigators to follow his wife.

Worcester Crown Court has heard he was in a custody battle with her over the boy, who suffered serious burns to his arms and face in the attack.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Six men, including the boy's father, and one woman are charged with conspiring to commit grievous bodily harm

The father said another payment, of £680, was made to Saied Hussini and Jabar Paktia in Wolverhampton, also to pay for investigations into his wife's activities.

But the prosecution alleges this money was to fund what proved to be an aborted attempt to maim the boy on 13 July, eight days before the attack in Home Bargains.

Prosecutors say Mr Hussini, Norbert Pulko, and Martina Badiova were seen "hanging around" near the three-year-old's school, but abandoned plans to injure him because too many people were around.

Image caption The three-year-old was attacked in Home Bargains in Tallow Hill

The boy's father, originally from Afghanistan, told the court he had arranged to meet Mr Hussini and Ms Badiova, whom he believed to be from social services, in the car park of Worcester's Blackpole Inn, on the day of the attack in which the boy was injured.

Neither of them arrived, he said.

But prosecutors allege that Mr Pulko, was there that day instead and that the father handed him the plastic bottle.

The father denied this, and said he had never met Mr Pulko - although the court heard calls were made between their phones and his car was spotted "in convoy" with Mr Pulko's after the botched attempt to attack the boy in Wolverhampton.

The father told the court that on 21 July, after his son had been burned in the shop, he paid Mr Paktia £500 for the investigation into his wife.

"I gave the money to Jabar [Paktia] and he said he was going to give it to the private investigators," he told the court.

The father is on trial alongside Adam Cech, 27, of Farnham Road, Birmingham; Jan Dudi, 25, of Cranbrook Road, Birmingham; Norbert Pulko, 22, of Sutherland Road, London; Martina Badiova, 22, of Newcombe Road, Handsworth, Birmingham; Saied Hussini, 42, of Wrottesley Road, London, and Jabar Paktia, 42, of Newhampton Road, Wolverhampton.

The trial continues.

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