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Jilted boyfriend stabbed ex in mouth then made man to throw acid on her face

Adele Bellis
Adele Bellis

A jilted boyfriend has been found guilty of plotting to "horrifically disfigure" his ex-girlfriend by first having her stabbed in the face and later doused in acid.

Beautician Adele Bellis, 23, lost an ear, was left partially bald and has "life-changing" 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.

Five months earlier she had been left with facial scars after being stabbed in the mouth when he led her down a dark alleyway where he had arranged for a masked man to be waiting, his trial at Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Riley, of Raglan Street, Lowestoft, had denied false imprisonment, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, but was found guilty after two hours and 15 minutes of jury deliberations.

Jason Harrison, 27, of Princes Road, Lowestoft, carried out the attack, saying he was forced to do it by Riley and has already admitted conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid with intent.

Leon Thompson, 39, of Alma Road, Lowestoft, was found guilty of wounding in connection with the April 29 knife attack.

He was also convicted of conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

Riley hung his head in the dock after the verdicts were returned.

Judge John Devaux adjourned sentencing until the week beginning October 5.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson said Riley had 12 convictions for offences including violence dating back to 2004, when he was 15.

He was convicted of harassing Miss Bellis in 2012 and again last year after posting a revenge porn video featuring her on Facebook.

During the trial, Miss Bellis said their relationship was abusive and controlling, with Riley regularly forcing her to have sex in cars in public places.

The court heard that Riley had bombarded Miss Bellis with messages after their relationship broke down.

In March last year, he locked her in his flat for four hours and threatened to hurt her.

Mr Jackson said: "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.

"When these attempts to control her did not have the desired influence, he decide to go even further and exact revenge in the worst possible way."

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, Harrison, who owed Riley money, agreed to do it. Riley demonstrated the strength of the acid to him by dropping a live mouse into the liquid.

Harrison aborted two planned attacks, telling the court he did not want to go through with it. But he said Riley eventually forced him to do it.

He told the court: "He told me I had to pay £10,000 or I was going to get seriously hurt. He threatened my girlfriend. He said he would cut her up if I didn't do what he wanted."

Witnesses said they saw smoke coming from Miss Bellis after the attack.

She told police: "He got behind me and this bottle spilled liquid all over me. At first I thought 'oh my God he's messed up my hair'.

"After two or three seconds my skin just burned and I knew it was acid. I remember I was smoking, I was just crying and shouting 'I'm burning, I'm burning'."

She said that the top she was wearing dissolved and holes appeared in her jeans.

Miss Bellis was in hospital for three weeks after the attack. She has undergone skin grafts and facial reconstruction surgery which is likely to continue throughout her life.

A fourth man, Daniel Marshall, 38, of Rose Court, Haverhill, who was described as Riley's driver, has admitted conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid with intent.