A mother has described the "horrific" moment when her six-year-old daughter was enveloped in a ball of flames after a disgruntled customer hurled a petrol bomb into a Birmingham discount store.
Since the attack Shae Thomas, who spent five weeks in hospital, has had four skin graft operations and now wears a silicon mask to protect her badly burned face, the city's Crown Court was told.
Asa Lawrence (25) of Merridale Road, Wolverhampton, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. It is alleged Lawrence, a double glazing sales rep, carried out the bombing because he harboured a grievance following an angry dispute he had had the day before with an elderly shopper and staff at the TK Maxx store in Perry Barr.
Christopher Hotten QC, prosecuting, said Lawrence, who felt staff were taking the other man's side in the matter, lost his temper and kicked shelving, knocking over items.
He said Lawrence was chased and arrested and given a banning order, as well as having to pay £40 compensation for the damage he caused.
Mr Hotten said before leaving the store a number of people had heard Lawrence make threats that he, or someone else, would come back and "do something".
He said that on August 27 Lawrence made the bomb after buying petrol from a petrol station and went to the store in the afternoon.
He added: "This is one of those cases when one would need a heart of stone not to be touched by the appalling consequences of what befell an innocent family on a Friday afternoon last August.
"We say that this defendant, Lawrence, in an act of considered, calculated and deliberate wickedness, within a few moments transformed the life of a pretty, vibrant and carefree six-year-old into one of life-long suffering." The petrol bomb had been thrown into the crowded shop and had exploded, showering the victim with burning petrol vapour, the court heard.
Shae's mother Cherra Johnson, aged 26, from Bristol, said she had gone to the TK Maxx store with her daughter and mother.
" I was about to walk through the doors and then I just heard a really big bang and it was like flames coming from the ceiling.
"I had a burn on my right arm. I did get burned but my daughter's skin was all over me. It was so horrific. This little girl, the girl I gave birth to and had all the pain for, was totally on fire. I could not see anything else apart from fire."
She said at that point two "fantastic" women came over and helped to put the flames out before her daughter was doused with water.
Miss Johnson said a police car arrived and took Shae to Selly Oak Hospital, which had a specialist burns unit, and she had spent three weeks in intensive care.
She added her daughter, who had suffered burns to her face, arms and neck, was now seeing a number of specialists to help her with both the physical and mental results of her injuries and that her life had totally changed.
The trial continues.