A father accused of planning an acid attack on his three-year-old son has told a jury he was “never” involved.
The 40-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his son, added that he was “shocked” to be arrested.
The man has been charged with conspiring to unlawfully or maliciously cast or throw sulphuric acid on or at the boy with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable the minor, or do grievous bodily harm.
He is accused of plotting the attack between 1 June and 22 July 2018.
The boy suffered serious burns to his face and arm at the Home Bargains store in Worcester on 21 July last year, during a parental custody dispute.
A jury has been shown CCTV footage of the moment of the attack, and heard how the injured child screamed “I hurt” after being struck.
The boy’s father, originally from Afghanistan, held a tissue to his face as the clip was played.
The defendant gave evidence at Worcester Crown Court the first time on Thursday.
He was asked: “In July last year, did you arrange for acid to be thrown at your son?”
The father, who was wearing a white shirt and jeans, replied through an interpreter: “No, never.”
He told his barrister Phil Bradley QC that he only found out about the attack when he was arrested at his Wolverhampton home.
Asked about his feelings on being detained, he told the jury: “I was very shocked.”
Mr Bradley asked: “Had you any idea that little boy was going to be attacked?”
The father replied “no” and denied knowing anyone might have been following his son with acid.
He also denied telling his wife she had “humiliated” him after they split on a previous occasion in 2012, resulting in her leaving the family home with the children.
He was then asked about an allegation his wife had repeated to jurors during her evidence, where she claimed he had spoken to an imam about killing her and the children because she had left him.
Asked if he had ever asked such a question, he replied: “No, I cannot even think of that.”
The father is on trial alongside Adam Cech, 27, Jan Dudi, 25, and Martina Badiova, 22, all from Birmingham.
He is also accused alongside Norbert Pulko, 22, and Saied Hussini, 42, from London, and Jabar Paktia, 42, from Wolverhampton.
They all deny the same charge.
Jonathan Rees QC, opening the prosecution case, said the mother had driven to the store with her children at about 2pm to buy a party gift.
CCTV, which has been played in court, showed her being followed by a silver Vauxhall Vectra, allegedly containing Cech, Dudi and Pulko.
She went inside the store with her children at 2.13pm and was followed shortly afterwards by three men.
The CCTV apparently shows Cech approaching the victim.
The victim was standing with his sibling near a display of toy footballs when a man in a white T-shirt, identified without dispute in court as Cech, walked past the victim with his arm extended and an object in his hand.
As Cech exited the frame, the victim could be seen looking quickly back towards him before running to his mother nearby.
Mr Rees told jurors: “What you have just seen is that person in a white T-shirt – you can just catch the moment where the arm is extended.
“That really is the hub of this case. That is the acid attack. It is over in a split second.”
The trial continues.