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Woman Whose Acid Attack on Ex Led to Euthanasia Jailed

Berlinah Wallace, 48, who grew up in South Africa, threw the corrosive liquid at 29-year-old Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen in Bristol, western England, in 2015 after he left her for another woman.

AFP

Updated:May 23, 2018, 7:34 PM IST
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Woman Whose Acid Attack on Ex Led to Euthanasia Jailed
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London: A woman who poured sulphuric acid over her former partner's face, leading him to end his life by euthanasia, was jailed in Britain on Wednesday for at least 12 years.

Berlinah Wallace, 48, who grew up in South Africa, threw the corrosive liquid at 29-year-old Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen in Bristol, western England, in 2015 after he left her for another woman.

"It was an act of pure evil," judge Nicola Davies said in sentencing her to a life term, with a minimum of 12 years to be served.

"Your intention was to burn, disfigure and disable Mark van Dongen so that he would not be attractive to any other woman." The judge noted immediately before Wallace threw the acid she had said: "If I can't have you, no-one can".

Van Dongen was left in a coma for four months and blinded in one eye after suffering extensive burns to his face and body.

He was subsequently paralysed from the neck down and had to have his lower left leg amputated.

He died by euthanasia at a hospital in Belgium in January 2017.

Speaking outside Bristol Crown Court, the victim's father Kees van Dongen said he was "very relieved" at the life sentence.

"There are only losers in this case," he said.

In a statement in court on Tuesday, he had detailed the harrowing impact of the attack, which left his son unable to communicate verbally for months and eventually losing his leg through infection.

On the decision to end his life, van Dongen said his son told him: "Dad, I'm tired of fighting -- I've suffered so much pain and I can't take anymore. Please let me go." His application for euthanasia in Belgium was authorised after doctors ruled it was a case of "unbearable physical and psychological suffering".

The acid attack followed the break-down of van Dongen's five-year relationship with Wallace after he met a new girlfriend online.

The court heard he had called police and reported his ex-partner for harassment on the same day that she had purchased sulphuric acid after Wallace made 14 silent calls to his new girlfriend.

She had purchased the bottle of 98 percent concentration acid and viewed 82 websites about the fluid after van Dongen had told her their relationship was over.

However, he went to stay with Wallace weeks later and was awoken in the middle of the night by the attack.

Following a four-week trial in Bristol, she was acquitted of murder but convicted of throwing a corrosive substance with intent.

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