Acid attack victim Ellie Chessell has branded her ex-boyfriend a coward and described the last 12 months of her life a living nightmare.
She said the 12-year sentence handed down to Claudio Gouveia – who hired a hit-man to hurl acid over the travel rep, scarring her for life – would help her move on.
The last 12 months of my life have been a living nightmare for my family and I after my former partner Claudio Gouveia ordered a cowardly acid attack against me, the 29-year-old said in a statement.
The physical and mental scars of what happened to me in May 2017 will never ever heal – but today’s lengthy prison sentence for Gouveia will help me move forward with my life knowing that justice has finally been served.
Acid attacks are truly the most evil of crimes and my heart goes out to all fellow victims who have shown such bravery and courage in bringing their perpetrators to justice.
Gouveia, from Madeira, was today jailed for a total of 12 years after being convicted of attempted murder and domestic violence at a court in Portimao, Algarve, yesterday.
He was handed a 10-year six-month sentence for attempted murder and three years for domestic violence, but was told the total would be 12 years – far less than the 25-year sentence prosecutors were hoping for.
He has been banned from contacting Ellie for five years, and ordered to pay her and the three hospitals that treated her compensation.
The 35-year-old, who denied all the charges, had arranged the brutal acid attack, in which Ellie, who was not present at today’s hearing, was lured on a fake Tinder date.
He hired Edmundo Helder Rodrigues Fonseca, 44, to douse her in the corrosive liquid, leaving her with horrific burns to her face and body, the trial heard.
The hitman is being tried separately and his stop-start trial will not finish till next month.
Prosecutors claimed in an indictment ahead of Gouveia’s trial he masterminded the acid attack after Ellie left him for assaulting her and he discovered she had moved to the Algarve.
They said Gouveia and Rodrigues Fonseca scouted out the area before luring her to a spot near the four-star hotel where she was working, by posing as a wealthy businessman called Diogo and setting up a dinner date on a fake Tinder account.
Ellie had approached police in both the UK and Portugal after death threats and violent messages from her ex-partner, one of which said You are a s*** and you are going to die.
Shortly after the attack on May 6 last year, cops located and arrested Gouveia.
Rodrigues Fonseca was only tracked down last November after Portuguese authorities discovered he was in prison in Uganda, east Africa, after being arrested with six kilos of heroin.
He was extradited to Portugal to face trial earlier this year.
Speaking after today’s sentencing, brave Ellie also thanked all those who have supported her through her living nightmare.
Firstly I would like to thank lead judge Cristina Mira for her handling of the case and finding Gouveia guilty of attempted murder and domestic violence, she said.
I hope his lengthy prison sentence will give him time to reflect on the severity of his crimes and help deter other individuals from carrying out such horrific acts.
All the fabulous staff at Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon whose expert medical care and kindness has slowly helped me rebuild my life. Also Odstock Hospital in Wiltshire for their brilliant aftercare in the UK.
Sonia Correia, the Portuguese police inspector whose dedication and hard work along with her team helped bring Gouveia to justice in what has been a long and complex investigation.
TUI for their continuous support throughout all of this for myself and my family and the British Consulate in Portimao in particular Ana Sofia Bono.
And last but certainly not least my family who have been at my side constantly supporting me through some very dark times.
News Source MirrorNews