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Woman who attacked partner with acid jailed for life

LIFE SENTENCE: Berlinah Wallace was sentenced at Bristol crown court today

A WOMAN whose former partner ended his life 15 months after she threw sulphuric acid over him has been jailed for life.

Berlinah Wallace, 48, attacked Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen with the corrosive substance at her flat in Bristol in 2015.

Speaking at Bristol crown court, Justice Nicola Davies told Wallace the attack was “an act of pure evil”.


PICTURED: Berlinah Wallace (left) and her former partner Mark van Dongen

Davies said: “Your intention was to burn, disfigure and disable Mark van Dongen so that he would not be attractive to any other woman.”

Although cleared of murdering Van Dongen, Wallace was found guilty of throwing a corrosive fluid with intent and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 12 years.

The attack on her 29-year-old ex-partner left him paralysed from the neck down, caused him to lost the sight in one eye, lose his ear and have his left leg amputated.

Van Dongen made the decision to end his life in January 2017. He travelled to a Belgian hospital to do so.


The damage on the bed where Wallace threw the acid over Van Dongen (Image: Avon and Somerset Police)
The court was told that Wallace bought the acid to punish Van Dongen after he left her for another woman.

Kees van Dongen, the victim’s father, has previously said he treated Wallace as a daughter.

Speaking via a translator after the sentence was announced, he said: "I'm very pleased she'll be locked up for a minimum of 12 years but really it's too little, because we as a family have been sentenced to life.”

He added: "I never knew that she was like this. It turns out she really pulled the wool over our eyes from day one."

It is the first life sentence for someone convicted for an acid attack in the UK, according to Avon and Somerset Police.

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