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Four men jailed for 40 years for acid attack on beautician Adele Bellis

PUBLISHED: 12:55 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 07:50 17 October 2015

Adele Bellis arrives to make 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. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

Adele Bellis arrives to make 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. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

A Lowestoft 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.

Anthony Riley, 26, of Raglan Street in Lowestoft has been found guilty of an acid attack against Adele Bellis. Photo: Suffolk PoliceAnthony Riley, 26, of Raglan Street in Lowestoft has been found guilty of an acid attack against Adele Bellis. Photo: Suffolk Police

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.

It was the culmination of a six-month campaign by her former partner of seven years, Anthony Riley, 26, of Raglan Street, Lowestoft. 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.

Leon Thompson (l) and Jason Harrison (r). Photo: Suffolk Police/PA WireLeon Thompson (l) and Jason Harrison (r). Photo: Suffolk Police/PA Wire

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

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.”

Adele speaks out

Speaking outside court, Miss Bellis said: “I believe that anyone who plans or uses acid to attack someone should automatically get a life sentence because for us as survivors it is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.

“I also feel a life sentence would help act as a deterrent to other potential attackers.

“Acid seems to have become another weapon for sick, unstable individuals.

“It needs proper restrictions placed on it at the point of sale, like any other potential weapon. At the moment it’s too easy for anyone to buy acid on the high street.

“The acid attack on me was the end result of being trapped in an increasingly controlling and abusive relationship with Riley for a total of seven years.

“When I met Riley I was only 16 and had no idea how a relationship was supposed to be.”

She added that children should be taught about unhealthy relationships.

“For this reason I intend to campaign to have schools teach children about good and bad relationships,” she said.

“I am determined that something positive comes out of what has happened to me. I want anyone in controlling and abusive relationships to look at me today and realise what can happen.

“My message to them is: ‘get out now, before it is too late’.”

Leon Thompson, 39, of Alma Road, Lowestoft, carried out the knife attack, Daniel Marshall, 39, of Rose Court, Lowestoft, acted as his “enforcer” and Jason Harrison, 28, formerly of Princes Road, Lowestoft, 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, who wrote a letter of apology to Miss Bellis, was jailed for four years and four months.

Andrew Thompson, mitigating, said Harrison had played an “important and courageous” part in the prosecution case despite the risk of reprisals.

Adele Bellis makes a statement outside Ipswich Crown Court. Photo: Chris Radburn/PAAdele Bellis makes a statement outside Ipswich Crown Court. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA

“He co-operated from the outset with police,” he added.

“He felt genuine and escalating fear not just for himself but for his family, his partner and his friends.”

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