The father of the three-year-old victim of an acid attack has been confirmed as one of the detainees being questioned after police suggested the assault was the result of a “community” dispute.
West Mercia Police confirmed to MailOnline that the 39-year-old man arrested on Sunday in Wolverhampton is the father of the toddler who had a corrosive substance thrown in his face in a homewares discount store in the cathedral city of Worcester on Saturday.
“He is still in custody. No charges as yet have been brought. This is an ongoing investigation,” the police spokesman told the website.
The man, believed to be Eastern European, is being held on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
Three other men aged 22, 25, and 26, were arrested on Monday in Walthamstow, east London — 130 miles away from Worcester — on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
The Times reported they are also “believed to be of eastern European origin” while The Sun spoke to Walthamstow locals who said the young men were from the Romani Gypsy community and were accomplished bare-knuckle fighters.
Worcester locals said that the woman — also allegedly of Eastern European heritage — and her three children were “living in is a safe house” after a bad breakup with the children’s father, with a source telling The Telegraph on Monday that police believed the boy was targetted due to “an issue within a community”
A West Mercia Police source also told the newspaper that police “fear for the safety of the mother and child and they’ve been temporarily moved away from their home while our investigation continues.”
Later on Monday, Chief Superintendent Mark Travis told press at police headquarters in Worcester that he was keeping an “open mind” over the motive for the attack, but hinted that it was a result of a “dispute” between “communities”.
“As a local policing commander in support of our local community 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,” Chief Supt. Travis said.
Four Arrested After Acid Attack on Three-Year-Old Boy in England https://t.co/zQoSajEX7M
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 23, 2018
The mother had been living with her three children in the quiet city for eight months before the attack, and a source told the Daily Mail that the woman fled Wolverhampton — where the 39-year-old male was arrested on Sunday — after having “difficulties within her family” and that she was the actual target of the attack.
“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,” the source alleged.
The child was released from hospital on Monday and the extent of damage to the boy’s face and arm is yet unknown.
The nature of the corrosive substance has not yet been released by police, but one paramedic treating the boy at the scene on Saturday described it as “pink” with an “astringent kind of smell”.