Sunday 18 August 2019

Woman doused in petrol and set on fire by former boyfriend issues warning on domestic abuse

Warning: Contains images of distressing injuries

Judy Malinowski before the attack. Picture: Facebook
Judy Malinowski before the attack. Picture: Facebook Newsdesk Newsdesk

A woman who was burned alive by her former partner has spoken out about her “evil” attacker and urged other women in abusive relationships to seek help.

Judy Malinowski, 33, was doused in petrol and set alight by Michael Slager in August 2015 at a petrol station in Gahanna, Ohio.

She has been in hospital ever since. The extent of her injuries was so severe that she was unable to face her attacker in court. Instead she testified remotely from her hospital bed. 

After claiming the fire was an accident, Slager, 41, pleaded no contest to charges of assault, aggravated arson and possession of criminal tools. A no contest plea allows a defendant to admit to the facts of the case without admitting guilt. It prevents the plea from being used against the defendant in any later civil or criminal proceeding and allows the opportunity for appeal at a later date.

Judy Malinowski was set on fire by her former partner ABC6/Screengrab
Judy Malinowski was set on fire by her former partner ABC6/Screengrab

Slager was sentenced to a maximum of 11 years in prison earlier this week, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

However, the conviction could be upgraded to murder if Ms Malinowski, a cancer survivor, dies from her injuries, which doctors suspect is possible.

She has severe burns over 90pc of her body and lost facial features, her ears and some of her fingers. Large wounds have failed to heal and remain open, while Ms Malinowski is immobile and cannot breathe without the help of a ventilator.

“I never knew that a human being could be so evil,” Ms Malinowski told the NBC4i. TV station. “He just stood there and did nothing.”

She added: “There were days I told myself I can’t live like this. No one should have to live like this. Because I was in so much pain.”

Ms Malinowski’s advice for other women in abusive relationships was to “get help…run”.

Her mother, Bonnie Bowes, added: “She wants everyone to know, she’s keeps telling me ‘mum, tell them verbal abuse is the start of physical abuse.’”

The family are now campaigning to implement Judy’s Law, legislation designed to maximise prison time for people convicted of aggravated arson.

"Judy has a life sentence," Ms Bowes told the court, according to the Dispatch. "Her children have a life sentence."

Independent News Service

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