An ‘arrogant and selfish’ father has been jailed after plotting an acid attack on his three-year-old son during a bitter custody battle with his wife.
The parent and five others defendants were all convicted by a jury of conspiring to throw sulphuric acid with intent to ‘burn, maim or disfigure’ the boy in July last year. The dad was today jailed for 16 years at Worcester Crown Court. The parent and five others defendants were all convicted by a jury of conspiring to throw sulphuric acid with intent to ‘burn, maim or disfigure’ the boy in July last year.
A seventh defendant, 23-year-old Martina Badiova, of Handsworth, Birmingham, was cleared of the same charge. On hearing the verdict against him, the father rubbed his face with his hand. A six-week trial at Worcester Crown Court was told the youngster, who cannot be identified due to his age, suffered serious injuries to his face and arm at a Home Bargains store in the city.
The Crown alleged the 40-year-old father, stung by his wife walking out on him in 2016, enlisted others to attack his son, in a bid to win more contact with the child by showing his mother was unfit to care for him. Giving evidence earlier in the trial, the mother, who cannot be identified, said of her estranged husband: ‘Whenever he became angry, he couldn’t control himself.’
She also said he threatened to kill her and the children if she ever left again, and had asked an imam about the subject, after she previously left the father in 2012. Jurors unanimously convicted the father – who cannot be named to protect his son’s identity – on Wednesday, after nine hours, alongside the five other men. The other five men found guilty of conspiring to throw acid on the boy were jailed for between 12 and 14 years.
Judge Robert Juckes QC, sentencing, told them they had carried out a ‘monstrous’ crime with ‘obviously strong acid’, probably from a car battery. He said: ‘It is an extraordinary thing in this case that not one of you, most of whom have no previous convictions, most of whom with families of your own, at any stage stood back and asked the question of yourself and others: what are we doing?’ Among those jailed were Adam Cech, 27, of Birmingham, Jan Dudi, 25, of Birmingham, and Norbert Pulko, 22, of London. All three men were captured on CCTV at the scene of the attack, after following the boy and his mother to the store from their home in a Vauxhall Vectra.
The photo shows alleged conspirators Norbert Pulko and Jan Dudi posing with the BB gun the day before sulphuric acid was sprayed on the boy in Home Bargains, Worcester. The images were shown to a jury during the acid attack conspiracy trial at Worcester Crown Court today. Six men and a woman deny conspiracy to apply a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disable or disfigure the boy or do him grievous bodily harm. Adam Cech claims this same \’gun\’ was used by Pulko to threaten him into squirting the boy on Saturday, July 21 last year at 2.16pm.
The court heard Cech was accompanied by co-defendants Jan Dudi and Norbert Pulko in the store. The attack happened at 2.16pm on Saturday July 21, when Cech approached the child and squirted acid at him from a small plastic medicine-type bottle. Jurors heard the injured boy repeatedly screamed ‘I hurt, I hurt’, after he was sprayed. Footage then showed the three men calmly making their escape – Pulko even stopping at the tills to purchase two items.
The attack followed what prosecutors claimed had been an ‘aborted attack’ at a school eight days earlier. During that incident, Pulko, and 43-year-old Saied Hussini, of London, were seen by neighbours loitering in the area. CCTV footage later showed Pulko, with an object held in his hand, approaching the child, who was walking with his mother, before he veered away without incident. Pulko and middle-man Jabar Paktia, 42, of Wolverhampton, who introduced the father to Hussini, were also convicted of the same charge. Hussini, who is believed to have tested the strength of the acid on his arm before the attack, was also found guilty of the same charge.
Hussini also alleged the father, Paktia and and Hussini all went to meet Pulko, and it was Pulko who first suggested using acid. A feature of the trial was the ‘markedly cut-throat’ defences, Judge Robert Juckes QC, said. Cech claimed in court that he had been threatened with a BB gun by Pulko to squirt the victim and did not know acid was inside the bottle. When he was convicted, Cech – who had attacked the boy – put his head in his hands, and looked at the floor. The father, from Wolverhampton but originally from Afghanistan, had denied even knowing Pulko, despite being caught on CCTV meeting and ‘handing over acid’ in a pub car park the day of the attack. He also claimed to have only hired Hussini and Paktia as ‘private investigators’, while Dudi alleged he was just there to watch the mother – and no more.