Author Topic: Algarve acid attack victim Ellie Chessell breaks down in tears as she.....  (Read 130 times)

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Algarve acid attack victim Ellie Chessell breaks down in tears as she confronts the man accused of scarring her on her ex-boyfriend's orders in tense courtroom stand-off

    Claudio Gouveia is accused of ordering an acid attack on his British ex-girlfriend
    Ellie Chessell was attacked outside her home in the Algarve back in 2017
    Gouveia was said to have used accomplice Rodrigues Fonseca to carry it out

By Gerald Couzens In Spain For Mailonline

Published: 18:51, 12 June 2018 | Updated: 19:35, 12 June 2018

Algarve acid attack victim Ellie Chessell confronted the man who allegedly scarred her for life in a tense courtroom stand-off before breaking down in tears as she was comforted by her loved ones.  The British travel rep told a judge she recognised Edmundo Helder Rodrigues Fonseca as the man who doused her in acid after he was hauled into the courtroom in handcuffs.  She stared at the jobless 44-year-old for a split second before nodding her head as judge Patricia Avila asked her if he was the man who attacked her near the hotel she was working at in the resort of Alvor.  Questioned again whether he scarred her in the May 6 2017 attack state prosecutors say Ms Chessell's ex-boyfriend Claudio Gouveia ordered, she told the judge as Rodrigues Fonseca left the courtroom in Portimao less than five miles from the attack scene: 'For sure, I'm positive.'

Ms Chessell, 29, from Newport, Isle of Wight, spoke out at the end of a near-half-hour address ahead of the start of Rodrigues Fonseca's trial.  Three judges were due to deliver their verdict against her ex Gouveia who has been tried separately on Tuesday at the same court but the hearing was suspended on a legal technicality at the request of his defence lawyer.  Ms Chessell supported by relatives including her mum Diana Newman who also gave evidence looked visibly upset as she learnt she would not find out whether the 35-year-old alleged orchestrator of the acid attack would be found guilty and sentenced to a possible 25 years in prison.  After identifying Rodrigues Fonseca as the man who attacked her, she left the courtroom shaking and in tears and was comforted by relatives for around 10 minutes.  She declined to talk to waiting press, although British consular officials who accompanied her indicated she would provide a written statement once Gouveia's fate is known on a rescheduled court date of June 21.  Rodrigues Fonseca's trial proper following the statements given by Ms Chessell and her mum will get underway later this month.  Ms Chessell, smartly dressed in grey trousers and a black shirt with a silver bracelet covering her scarred right arm, told Tuesday's court hearing she knew she had been 'set up' by her ex when she had the acid thrown over her.  She said she was fooled into meeting a man she knew as Diogo on dating website Tinder.  'I'd never seen the man who attacked me before. He was on his mobile and sat on a bench dressed all in black when I first walked past him,' she said.

'His legs were shaking and he looked nervous and I thought he was a bit odd. He was walking down the road in the opposite direction as I headed back to my hotel.  He said 'Sorry' 'Desculpa' in Portuguese before throwing something over me which I thought at first was urine because it was warm.  I knew three seconds later I had been set up and it was acid. A bit went over my face and stomach and it ran down my legs.  I was on the phone at the time and so some hit my arms. I took my jacket off as soon as it happened and my dress was melting.  I immediately thought of my ex-boyfriend. He had threatened on several occasions he would hurt me and I realised he had found a way to make it happen.  He emailed me afterwards making reference to a song we had listened to many times with the lyrics 'I don't give up'.'

State prosecutor Carla Neto said in her closing speech at the end of Claudio Gouveia's trial last month he should face the maximum 25 years in jail for his 'macabre and repulsive' crime.  She detailed a series of chilling death threats she said he sent TUI travel worker Ms Chessell after she walked out on him following a string of assaults towards the end of their near-two-year relationship.  Rodrigues Fonseca is accused of throwing acid over Ms Chessell after her ex allegedly lured her out of her hotel by posing as a wealthy businessman called Diogo and setting up a date using a fake Tinder account.  He was arrested last year in Uganda, east Africa, for drug offences and extradited to Portugal in May.  Both men protested their innocence. Gouveia claimed during his evidence that the alleged acid hitman confessed to attacking Ms Chessell but admitted he decided not to tell police despite insisting he had nothing to do with the crime.