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Three men arrested over ‘acid attack’ on a three-year-old boy

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Three men have been arrested in connection with a suspected acid attack on a three-year-old boy in Worcester.

The suspects, aged 22, 25 and 26, were detained in London on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

They are due to be questioned alongside a 39-year-old man from Wolverhampton who was arrested on suspicion of the same offence on Sunday.

It is not known if the older man is connected with the three younger suspects.

Detectives have not revealed whether those held were known to the victim’s family, but officers who have seen CCTV footage of the attack believe the boy was deliberately targeted.

He was treated in hospital after suffering serious burns to his face and an arm, and he has since been discharged.

Chief Superintendent Mark Travis of West Mercia Police said the suspected attack is not believed to have been race-related, after a far-right English Defence League march took place nearby.

Suspects
Image:
West Mercia Police released images of the three suspects

Mr Travis said: “I would like to reassure people both nationally and within Worcestershire that instances of this nature are very, very rare.

“I would like to be very, very clear – there is no evidence to suggest that in any way this incident is motivated by race or anything to do with the EDL protest.”

The child was in a pushchair with his family at around 2.15pm on Saturday when a substance was sprayed or thrown towards him in Home Bargains at Shrub Hill Retail Park, Tallow Hill.

The long-term medical implications for the child are unknown at this time.

Police released three images of the suspects who they wanted to speak to on Sunday.

The men may have information vital to the investigation, say police
Image:
The men may have information vital to the investigation, say police

The men had been in the store and were seen walking close to the little boy.

They left shortly after the suspected assault.

Mr Travis said: “We are keeping all of the options open but at the moment we consider it was a deliberate act against the little boy”.

He told Sky News: “It’s an awful incident and we’re really, really concerned about this.

“Worcester is a really, really safe place. It’s very unusual to have any form of attack like this.”

West Mercia Police has said it is working to ensure the safety and security of the victim and his family after their ordeal.

Officers outside the store where the toddler was attacked
Image:
Officers outside the store where the child was attacked

Worcester City Council leader Marc Bayliss described the attack as “absolutely pure evil”.

Worcester MP Robin Walker said the attack was “horrific” and that the “shock will be universal”.

West Mercia Police are continuing to appeal for information over the incident.

Detective Inspector Tony Garner said: “We’d like to thank everyone who shared our appeal over the weekend and contacted us with information; all of this is helping us to build up a better picture of this incident.

“We’re continuing to urge anyone else with information to contact us.”

:: Anyone with information should call 999 quoting incident 442s of 21 July 2018. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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