A father accused of attacking his young son with acid had planned to ‘mark the child’ in a bid to win back his estranged wife, a court heard.
The little boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, sustained serious injuries to his face and arm at a Worcester Home Bargains store on July 21 last year.
A trial jury at Worcester Crown Court heard how the burnt child repeatedly screamed ‘I hurt’, after being attacked.
The Crown alleges that the father recruited others to hurt the youngster, after his wife left him and took the children in 2016.
On the third day of giving evidence, the father, 40, admitted that after his wife had filed for divorce in August 2017 he had become ‘obsessed’ with the outcome of family court proceedings.
He 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 grievous bodily harm.
Facing the same charge are Adam Cech, 27, Jan Dudi, 25, Martina Badiova, 22, all from Birmingham, Norbert Pulko, 22, and Saied Hussini both from London, and Jabar Paktia, 42, from Wolverhampton.
They all deny the allegation.
Prosecuting, Lauren Soertsz asked the father about a discussion at Paktia’s home with Hussini, on July 5 2018, in which she alleged that he stated he should ‘mark the child and then blame the mother’.
The father replied that he ‘would never talk about my children like that.’
Miss Soertsz probed: ‘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 denied the claims and also refuted that he had shown Hussini a badminton racquet – kept in his car boot – adapted to have a ‘knife blade’ in its wooden handle which he would give to someone to carry out the job for £5,000.
Weeks before the shop attack a final court hearing to determine custody for the children had been set for June 13 but was later postponed.
However, a social worker’s report had granted custody in favour of the mother.
Miss Soertsz said her client Hussini told the father: ‘He had found someone who had a better option than cutting the child and would do it for £3,000.’
The father then denied going with Paktia and Hussini to meet Pulko, who suggested using acid.
Earlier jurors had heard about what was an alleged ‘aborted’ attempt to attack the boy on July 13, eight days before the shop attack.
On Hussini’s account, Miss Soertsz alleged that by July 11 the father had handed Pulko a £1,500 down-payment for the attack.
Although the attack was ‘aborted, CCTV revealing the alleged run-up to the operation – and Pulko walking near the mother and child – was played in court.
Hussini had then claimed he called the boy’s father and said they had ‘done what you’d asked’ but three days later the father told him he ‘didn’t believe he’d marked the child’.
Miss Soertsz alleged the father and Paktia then went to Hussini’s home, picked him up and had an argument in a car.
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 denies the allegations.