A ‘SCARED’ dad who squirted acid on a three-year-old boy claimed he was forced to carry out the attack after he was threatened with a ‘gun’.

Adam Cech who sprayed the boy with acid in Home Bargains, Worcester gave evidence from the witness box at Worcester Crown Court yesterday, saying he did not know the fluid was acid and had not remained in the shop to see the effects.

Speaking through a Slovak interpreter the married 27-year-old father-of-two said a small white bottle was forced into his hand by Norbert Pulko. The boy’s 40-year-old father and six others - Adam Cech, Norbert Pulko, Jan Dudi, Jabar Paktia, Saied Hussini and Martina Badiova - all deny conspiracy to apply a corrosive fluid. The attack is said by the prosecution to have been arranged by the boy’s Afghan father to make his estranged wife look like a bad mother so he could secure custody of their children. The attack took place at the Tallow Hill shop on 2.16pm on July 21 last year. The boy suffered chemical burns to his forehead and left forearm.

Cech of Farnham Road, Birmingham was shown a CCTV still and was asked by his barrister, Andrew Copeland, who was shown in footage. He answered: “It’s me.”

Upon being asked why he told the jury: “I was forced to do it.”

“By whom?” asked his barrister.

“Norbert Pulko” said Cech. Cech said he had known Pulko, 22, of Sutherland Road, London for two months after meeting him at a ‘Slovakian party’.

Cech who swore his oath on the Bible said: “When we stopped at the car park he (Pulko) pulled out a gun from his clothing and he put it underneath the seat of the car.” The gun was described as ‘a BB gun’ which fired pellets and was exhibited to the jury. It was seized from Pulko’s bedroom by his pillow when he was arrested, the court heard.

Cech said: “I thought it was a real gun.”

Cech asked Pulko what the gun was for and Pulko answered ‘to defend himself from his enemies’. As they neared Home Bargains he said Pulko put the bottle in his hand.

Cech said: “He told me he will show me a little boy and he told me to squirt the contents of the bottle, to squirt the drops onto the little boy and it will not harm him, that if I won’t do it I should remember what he has got in the car and that I know where he lives. I thought about the gun straight away.”

He said Pulko told him the bottle contained ‘only drops’. Cech had not tested the contents on himself or anybody else. Cech said he was unaware the bottle contained sulphuric acid and, had he known, he would not have taken the bottle.

“I did not know about the whole thing, nothing” said Cech.

“What was your reaction?” said Mr Copeland.

“I was scared and frightened” said Cech.

“Of what?” said Mr Copeland.

“Of the gun. I was scared he will harm me and my family” said Cech.

After the incident Cech said he Pulko and Jan Dudi drove back to Birmingham. Cech said he had let Pulko drive his Vauxhall Vectra. Cech told the jury that when he asked Pulko what it was about Pulko ‘told me not to ask anything’.

Cech said he asked Pulko why he had to squirt the boy rather than Pulko himself. Pulko did not respond he said.

When he left the shop Cech said he was not aware the boy was hurt and had not told his wife Pulko had threatened him because he ‘didn’t want to scare her’. At 8.11pm that evening Cech and Pulko were recorded on CCTV in an off-licence in Birmingham but Cech said he was still unaware at this stage that the boy had been hurt.

On the day of the acid attack itself Cech said he thought they were going to London and wanted to go because he was ‘drugged and high’ and did not want his children to see him after taking crystal meth given to him by Pulko.

Cech said Pulko had told him the detour to Worcester was to ‘collect money’. His barrister asked him if he knew how much money was involved or what the money was for and he said ‘no’. Mr Copeland asked him if there was any reason he didn’t ask Pulko ‘how much?’ and Cech said: “I didn’t care.”

The trial continues.