Tuesday 21 February 2017

Acid attack victim says her life will 'never be the same' as ex-boyfriend is jailed for life

Adele Bellis lost an ear, was left partially bald and has permanent scarring following the sulphuric acid attack

Ben Kendall

Published 16/10/2015 | 18:37

Adele Bellis makes a statement outside Ipswich Crown Court following the sentencing of Leon Thompson, Jason Harrison, Daniel Marshall, and Anthony Riley for conspiring to disfigure her in an acid attack
Adele Bellis makes a statement outside Ipswich Crown Court following the sentencing of Leon Thompson, Jason Harrison, Daniel Marshall, and Anthony Riley for conspiring to disfigure her in an acid attack
Adele Bellis makes a statement outside Ipswich Crown Court following the sentencing of Leon Thompson, Jason Harrison, Daniel Marshall, and Anthony Riley for conspiring to disfigure her in an acid attack
Anthony Riley was jailed for a minimum of 13 years of a life term
Adele Bellis was with Anthony Riley for seven years

A beautician disfigured in an acid attack orchestrated by her controlling ex-boyfriend has said "my life will never be the same" as he was jailed for life..

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Adele Bellis, 23, lost an ear, was left partially bald and has permanent scarring following the sulphuric acid attack at a bus stop in her home town of Lowestoft, Suffolk, on August 14 last year.

Anthony Riley was jailed for a minimum of 13 years of a life term
Anthony Riley was jailed for a minimum of 13 years of a life term

It was the culmination of a six-month campaign by her former partner of seven years, Anthony Riley, 26. Five months earlier she had been stabbed in the face by one of his friends.

A trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard that, fuelled by jealousy, Riley had become determined to control and disfigure Miss Bellis and recruited three men to help.

Riley, who appeared by video link from prison, was jailed for a minimum of 13 years of a life term for offences including conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid at a sentencing hearing on Friday.

Judge John Devaux said Riley decided that, if Miss Bellis did not want him, he would make sure no other man would want her.

Adele Bellis was with Anthony Riley for seven years
Adele Bellis was with Anthony Riley for seven years

Concluding that Riley presented an ongoing danger to the public, he added: "She suffered massive chemical burn injuries. Her injuries were appalling.

"There were echoes of a threat made by you on an earlier date that she would have a lifetime of suffering if she did not comply with your demands.

"You demonstrated the lengths to which you are prepared to go in dealing with a person who does not bend to your will."

Leon Thompson carried out the knife attack, Daniel Marshall acted as his "enforcer" and Jason Harrison carried out the acid attack, saying he was forced into it.

Thompson, who was in court, will serve an extended sentence of 15 years, and Marshall, who appeared by video link, will serve seven years for their parts in the assault. Harrison will be sentenced later.

In a statement read to the court, Miss Bellis described how her life has been turned upside down.

She added: "I have suffered some dark times and do not socialise any more - I would not dream of going to nightclubs with my friends like I used to."

She said she could no longer work and could not imagine forming a new relationship, adding: "Sadly my life will never be the same again."

Her mother, Colleen Bellis, said that her daughter's first words when she visited her in hospital were: "Don't look at me and don't cry."

During the trial, Miss Bellis said her relationship with Riley had been abusive and controlling.

When they split up, he bombarded her with messages, posted a revenge porn video on Facebook and locked her in his flat.

In April last year, he led her down a dark alleyway where he had arranged for a masked Thompson to be waiting to stab her in the face.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said: "He then decided to go even further and exact revenge in the worst possible way."

Riley recruited Harrison, who owed him a £10,000 drugs debt, to carry out the acid attack.

Before the assault, he demonstrated the strength of the acid by dropping a live mouse into the liquid, Mr Jackson said.

Harrison "got cold feet" on a number of occasions but both Riley and Marshall threatened him with violence, the court heard.

He eventually struck as Miss Bellis made her morning journey to work. Witnesses said they saw smoke coming from her.

She told police: "I was just crying and shouting 'I'm burning, I'm burning'."

Riley, of Raglan Street, Lowestoft, was found guilty of false imprisonment, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Harrison, 27, from Lowestoft, admitted conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid with intent.

Thompson, 39, from Lowestoft, was found guilty of wounding, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent. He was also sentenced for stealing £180 from his own mother in a separate case.

Marshall, 39, from Haverhill, admitted conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid with intent and perverting the course of justice.

Stephen Dyble, mitigating for Riley, said his client's denial made it difficult to convince the court he had shown genuine remorse.

He said there was little in Riley's history to suggest he was an ongoing danger but accepted the attack was "extremely violent".

Jonathan Goodman, representing Thompson, said his client was addicted to class A drugs.

"He lived what can only be described as a pathetic and chaotic lifestyle," he added.

Isobel Ascherson, for Marshall, sid he had told the truth when interviewed by police. He was not a "trusted lieutenant and enforcer" but in fact a "lackey and driver", she added.

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