TWO former Redditch employees are among six men who have been convicted of plotting an acid attack on a three-year-old boy.

Today they werea all jailed for a total of 78 years.

The child's 40-year-old father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was among the men found guilty of plotting the attack on his three-year-old son during a bitter custody battle with the child's mother.

The six men were all unanimously convicted by a jury of conspiring to throw sulphuric acid with intent to "burn, maim or disfigure" the boy in an attack inside a busy shop in July 2018.

A six-week trial at Worcester Crown Court was told that 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.

After the attack the victim screamed "I hurt" over and over again, jurors heard.

The Crown alleged that the 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 that his mother was unfit to care for him.

Jurors deliberated for nine hours before convicting the father, from Wolverhampton but originally from Afghanistan, today (Wednesday). He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The following five men were also jailed after being found guilty of plotting to spray sulphuric acid on the boy with intent to cause harm.

  • Saied Hussini , 41, of  Wrottesley Road, Harlesdon, London, was sentenced to 14 years in prison
  • Jabar Paktia, 41, of Great Hampton Street, Wolverhampton, was sentenced to 12 years in prison
  • Norbert Pulko, 22, of Sutherland Road, London, was sentenced to 12 years in prison
  • Jan Dudi, 25, of Cranbrook Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to 12 years in prison
  • Adam Cech, 27, of Farnham Road, Birmingham, was sentenced to 12 years in prison

Earlier the court had heard that Cech and Dudi worked together at Oliver James Foods in Redditch, where they associated together at break times.

A seventh defendant Martina Badiova was cleared of conspiring to carry out the acid attack.

Supporters of Ms Badiova cheered and applauded in the public gallery as the foreman of the jury announced they had found the 23-year-old, of Newcombe Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, not guilty.

The boy has since made a "good recovery" and is living with his mother.

Speaking after the trial Superintendent Damian Pettit for Worcestershire said: "This was a horrific attack on an innocent young boy, whose scars will prove a constant reminder of that awful day. I am pleased that justice has been served today and that six perpetrators will spend a combined total of 78 years in prison.

"Acid attacks are rare, particularly so in the county of Worcestershire and for a three-year-old boy to be the victim of such an attack is inconceivable. It is hard for the family, the officers, and the community to comprehend how a family member could organise an attack of this nature on such a young child.

"The officers working on the initial investigation were exceptionally fast and thorough in their enquiries, working through the night to make the first arrest within 12 hours of the attack. They did not stop at this and continued to gather intelligence until seven people were arrested and charged.

"All the officers involved have shown great dedication throughout the investigation and I am very proud of these officers for their hard work.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their efforts, and to thank the local and wider national community for sharing far and wide the CCTV image appeal that helped to track down those pictured.

"I would also like to reassure the community we will work hard to ensure Worcester remains a safe place to work, live and to socialise.

"The trial itself has been complex in nature due to the rare challenge of there being seven defendants, each with their own legal representation.

"It will take a great deal of time for the young boy and his family to come to terms with what has happened and we will continue to support them in moving on from this ordeal and re-building their lives.

"We hope that now the perpetrators are behind bars, the family can start to focus on the future, and I think I can speak for everyone at West Mercia Police in saying we wish them a healthy and happy future."