A woman whose ex-boyfriend went to a euthanasia clinic to die after she threw acid over him has been sentenced to life in prison. Berlinah Wallace,
A woman whose ex-boyfriend went to a euthanasia clinic to die after she threw acid over him has been sentenced to life in prison.
Berlinah Wallace, 48, bought a bottle of 98% concentration sulphuric acid and viewed 82 websites about it – including post-mortem images – after Mark van Dongen told her their relationship was over.
Wallace threw the liquid over the engineer as he slept in bed at her flat in Westbury Park, Bristol, in September 2015.
She laughed as she told him: “If I can’t have you, no-one else can.”
The 29-year-old remained in a coma for four months and sustained extensive burns to his body.
He was also left blind in one eye, paralysed from the neck down and had to have his lower left leg amputated.
He died by euthanasia at a hospital in Belgium on 2 January 2017.
Jailing Wallace for life with a minimum of 12 years at Bristol Crown Court, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies told the South African: “Your intention was to burn, disfigure and disable Mark van Dongen so that he would not be attractive to any other woman.
“It was an act of pure evil.”
Wallace was acquitted of murder but convicted of throwing a corrosive substance with intent after a trial lasting four weeks.
The judge told Wallace: “Having carried out this horrific attack you then told lie after lie.
“When interviewed by the police you sought to place the blame upon Mark van Dongen, falsely alleging that he had poured the acid into the glass on your bedside table intending that you should drink it.
“It was an account which you gave in September 2015 and maintained throughout this trial.
“Not only did you make this wholly false accusation to the police and throughout your trial, you further sought to destroy the name and character of Mark van Dongen, alleging that he was the abuser in your relationship.
“Mark van Dongen is no longer alive. He was unable to defend himself against any of your accusations.”
The judge said she accepted the evidence of Mr van Dongen’s colleagues and father, who said he was scared of Wallace.
She told Wallace: “He was right to be so because he had some idea of what you were capable of.”