A jilted boyfriend hatched a plan to “horrifically disfigure” his ex-girlfriend first by having her stabbed and later doused in sulphuric acid, a court has heard.
Adele Bellis, a beautician, then 22, lost an ear and was left with “life-changing” permanent scarring following the attack at a bus stop in Lowestoft, Suffolk, on 14 August last year.
Witnesses told police they had seen smoke coming from Ms Bellis’s skin after the assault. It was the culmination of a six-month campaign by her former partner of seven years, Anthony Riley, 26, the prosecutor Andrew Jackson told Ipswich Crown Court.
Mr Riley allegedly arranged for his co-defendant Leon Thompson, 39, to stab Ms Bellis in the face and posted a revenge sex video on Facebook in a bid to humiliate her, the prosecutor said. Mr Jackson added: “After their relationship ended, Mr Riley became consumed with jealousy at the prospect of her becoming involved with another man. He decided to control her by disfiguring her.”
It is claimed Mr Riley organised for a balaclava-clad Mr Thompson to attack Ms Bellis in the street on 29 April last year. Not content with the facial scarring caused by this, it is said Mr Riley then sought to hire somebody to carry out the acid attack.
“When these attempts to control her did not have the desired influence, he decided to go even further and exact revenge in the worst possible way,” Mr Jackson said.
He added that Ms Bellis had worked on cruise ships and as a beautician and was “proud of her appearance and looks”.
Mr Riley offered one drug addict, John Green, £2,000 to attack her but he refused when he realised what was involved, the court heard. Eventually another man, Jason Harrison, who owed Mr Riley money, agreed to do it. Harrison has already admitted his part in the conspiracy.
Mr Riley from Lowestoft denies false imprisonment, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent. Mr Thompson also from Lowestoft denies wounding with intent, having a knife in public, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
Mr Jackson told the court how Ms Bellis was in hospital for three weeks after the attack. She completely lost her right ear and is partially bald. She has undergone skin grafts and facial reconstruction surgery, which is likely to continue throughout her life.
Mr Jackson said Ms Bellis and Mr Riley had been in an on-off relationship. Ms Bellis said the relationship was abusive and Mr Riley subjected her to a campaign of harassment and abuse, including death threats. She went to his flat on 15 March to end the relationship but he became violent and locked her inside for four hours, Mr Jackson said. He added: “We say he was consumed by jealousy.”
Mr Jackson said Mr Riley convinced Harrison to carry out the attack and demonstrated the strength of the acid to him by dropping a live mouse into a jar of the liquid. On the first attempt, Harrison poured the acid away. He tried a second time on 13 August but aborted this attempt, it is alleged. A hooded and masked Harrison eventually completed the planned attack on 14 August. The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.
Press AssociationReuse content