Toddler acid attack: Police arrests father, an Afghan asylum seeker, in connection with sick crime
The unnamed 39-year-old man is currently being questioned about the acid attack by the police and he is none other than the child's father.
The authorities have announced that an arrest has been made in connection with the acid attack on a 3-year-old boy in Worcester and is none other than the child's father. An unnamed 39-year-old man is currently being questioned about the attack by the police. It has been revealed that he is an Afghan asylum seeker and had been the first suspect the authorities had arrested after it was discovered that the child was intentionally targeted on July 21. The toddler had been sitting in a stroller and was with his mother at a Home Bargains store. The three young men, whose faces appeared in the footage circulated, are also being questioned after they were arrested 130 miles away in Walthamstow in connection with the attack.
MailOnline reported that the men are said to be eastern Europeans from the Romani community. The east London neighbors of the men said that the three suspects are skilled bare-knuckled fighters. On July 25, a fifth suspect, a 41-year-old man from Wolverhampton was arrested by the police on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. Investigators believe that the intended target of the vicious attack may have actually been the child's mother.
A three-year-old boy has been injured in an apparent acid attack in Worcester. The incident happened at around 2:15 yesterday afternoon (Saturday) in Home Bargains at Shrub Hill Retail Park. @WMerciaPolice is looking to speak to these men. More here: https://t.co/JwiCg2qxlj pic.twitter.com/SwnFhvZ7Dq— BBC H and W (@bbchw) July 22, 2018
The toddler's parents initially settled in Wolverhampton after they fled Afghanistan in 2007. In 2017, the woman left her taxi driver husband and moved to a residence in Worcester along with their three children aged 10, 8, and 3. She wanted to begin a new life without the man. One of their former neighbors remembers hearing many screaming matches between the couple. Another neighbor said that the husband had broken down in tears after the woman left with their children saying she would not let him see his kids.
The detectives are under the impression that the men who attacked the child with the acid had been watching the family after having tracked them to their new home. After separating from her husband she decided to move with her three children to a home that was 30 miles away in Worcester. Residents in the area are also being questioned about any sightings of suspicious people or vehicles.
The investigators believe that the estranged husband found out where his family had moved to when a picture of one of the children appeared in the local newspaper at a local event. It has been revealed that when the woman was still living with the man, she would wear the full veil but had stopped wearing it in recent years. It has also been alleged that the three men who carried out the attack actually messed up and hit the toddler with the acid instead of their intended target who is believed to be the mother.
West Mercia Police told the publication the 39-year-old man they had earlier arrested "is still in custody. No charges as yet have been brought. This is an ongoing investigation." The man is reported to have split from her and is currently being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. Following their split, the mother is said to taken up residence in a safe-house. The mother and children were then moved to a police safe house after they were treated at a hospital for acid burns to the toddler's hands and face. Investigators took the action for fears that they might be attacked again.
The police source said: "She had moved to Worcester from elsewhere but hasn't been here long. She had moved because of difficulties within her family. Nobody knows her really well and she didn't have any connection with Worcester. That's why she was moved here because she was fleeing her previous situation. Somehow the parties she was in a dispute with found out where she had moved to and that's how this horrendous incident has happened. The acid attack was targeted at her. The child just happened to get in the way."
Chief Superintendent Mark Travis, the lead investigator of the case, said that he is "keeping an open mind" about what the motive for the attack was and who the target is. When speaking about the attack, however, he hinted at a possible fight and said: "This is not the way to resolve issues and disputes in communities." Neighbors in the area, on the other hand, believe that the attackers were from the "gypsy community". The police do not believe that this attack was gang-related. They have ruled out any race-related issue as well as any link to the English Defense League match that happened nearby.
One neighbor said: "Police asked us if we had noticed any strange vehicles or anything disturbing. At first, we thought it might about a robbery but we were shocked to find out that it was connected to the horrible acid attack. We have not seen the woman for a few days." The neighbors said that the woman did not appear to have a partner and had been spotted taking her children to school every day. Another neighbor said: "The house she was living in is a safe house. We have been told that someone was paid to attack the woman – but they missed and got the child. It's disgusting that men would do this."
The mother and her children have been moved to another safe house since the incident took place on July 21. Nick Carson of the West Midlands Ambulance Service, the man who treated the toddler at the scene of the attack, spoke about how the acid had an acrid and chemical smell.
He said: "It's horrific, absolutely horrific. We had no inkling or any reason to suspect it was an acid attack. We just thought that maybe he had come into contact with some sort of chemical. But to find out afterward that that was the case, it's shocking. The fluid that I saw was pink in color. It had quite a strong smell. No bleach or acidy type smell but it was an astringent kind of smell. Just smelt like a chemical really."
West Mercia Police’s @CSuptMarkTravis speaking outside the force’s Hindlip HQ about the #acid attack in #Worcester - four men still in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm. pic.twitter.com/wCuRHe4otH— Tom Edwards (@tomedwardsbbchw) July 23, 2018
Chief Superintendent Travis also spoke about how the toddler's relatives were coming to terms with the "shocking" attack. At a press conference that was held after the attack, he said: "It's a difficult time for them and we need to make sure that while we work through the investigation they are safe and secure and are allowed to deal with the issues that they face. I want to make sure the message is really clear that this is a very, very rare occurrence and what we will do is work to make people understand that this is not the way to resolve issues and disputes in communities."
He then added:"The incident was captured on CCTV but we will not release any footage that showed the substance being thrown or sprayed. A number of other exhibits from the area have also been taken for examinations. We have looked at the movement of people in the footage throughout the area and consider this to be a deliberate act against the little boy."