A father accused of plotting an acid attack on his young son sent an image to an alleged co-conspirator hours after the attack with the caption “Nailed It!”, a court has heard.
The youngster, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, suffered serious burns to his face and arm at the Home Bargains store in Worcester on July 21 last year, during a parental custody dispute triggered by his father.
The 40-year-old man 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 to him.
The Crown has alleged the father, stung by his wife walking out on him and taking the children in April 2016, “enlisted others” to attack the youngster in a bid to present the woman as “an unfit mother”.
Facing the same charge are 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.
They all deny the allegation.
The Crown has claimed that Cech, Dudi and Pulko carried out the attack, in-store, at 2.16pm, that day.
Running through details of contact alleged between the accused, prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC told jurors on Wednesday, that cell-siting of mobile phones showed the three men leaving the area immediately following the incident.
He claimed that the men travelled out of the Worcester area in a Vauxhall Vectra, heading north on the M5 motorway.
The Crown, referring to phone call log evidence, alleged that, during that time, Pulko called Paktia, before Paktia then rang the boy’s father, some 20 minutes after the attack.
It is alleged that Pulko then met up with Paktia somewhere in the Birmingham area at about 5.20pm, after Pulko texted to say: “What time you get to me?”
At about 6pm, CCTV then showed the father’s car with two males in the vehicle.
About an hour later, cell-siting showed Paktia and the father’s phones were “back in the Wolverhampton area”, Mr Rees told jurors.
The Crown’s QC then drew the jury’s attention to what he described as “some stickers being sent with motifs and images”, from the victim’s father to Paktia, later that evening.
The first showed a cartoon image of what appeared to be a deer, leaning over and comforting a tearful fox.
Mr Rees said: “At 9.15pm, he (the boy’s father) sends Paktia a sticker.
“One animal comforting a fox which has its head in its hands.
“And then, the second is sent, a minute after that first one, again to Paktia.
“It is a sticker which features a young lady in it with the motif ‘Nailed It!’.”
Mr Rees said that separately, at 7.25pm following the attack, Pulko was seen with Badiova in a Birmingham off-licence, allegedly handing her cash.
He said: “CCTV captures Pulko and Badiova in an Underwood’s off-licence in Handsworth, Birmingham, making a purchase.
“Our suggestion is we see Mr Pulko making a purchase and then handing some notes, we say is cash, to Miss Badiova.”
Mr Rees then read out messages from a conversation allegedly between Pulko and his sister, in which she asked: “Why did you do this, you know what’s going to happen to you?”
The reply, from his phone, read: “I’m stupid, I know I’m going for a minimum of 15 years to prison.
“If I go, I’m going to kill myself before they put me there.”
He added: “Just look after mum.”
In his opening last week, the Crown’s QC said the boy’s mother had driven to the store with her children at about 2pm to buy a party gift.
Roadside CCTV established she was followed by a Vectra, allegedly containing Cech, Dudi and Pulko.
At 2.13pm she and the children went inside the store, followed just over a minute later by three men, with shop CCTV showing Cech approaching the victim and his brother.
The victim could then be seen pointing up at a display of plastic footballs when a man in a white T-shirt, identified without dispute in court as Cech, walking past the victim with his arm extended and an object in his hand.
As Cech exited the frame, the victim could be seen looking quickly back towards him before running to his mother nearby.
Mr Rees told jurors during his opening last week: “What you have just seen is that person in a white T-shirt, you can just catch the moment where the arm is extended.
“That really is the hub of this case. That is the acid attack. It is over in a split second.
“You have, in shot, Mr Cech, there’s no dispute of that, extending his arm, out towards the child.”
The boy can then be seen in distress, being comforted by his mother and siblings.
Mr Rees said: “His mother was a short distance away as the attack is carried out, and the sister heard the victim scream out, ‘I hurt, I hurt, I hurt’.”
The boy suffered a 10cm burn to his left forearm, and a 3cm burn on his forehead, which needed specialist hospital treatment.
The Crown have also claimed that Hussini, Pulko and Badiova were involved in an “aborted” attempt near a school, eight days prior to the shop attack.