Acid attacker of UK holiday rep jailed for nine years in Algarve

A drug addict accused of dousing British travel rep Ellie Chessell in acid on the orders of her ex-boyfriend has been jailed for nine years. 

Portuguese Edmundo Fonseca had claimed Ellie’s former boyfriend deceived him into thinking the acid was urine but he was found guilty of attempted murder.

Judges in the Algarve town of Portimao have now handed the Portuguese father-of-three a nine-year sentence. 

Ms Chessell’s ex Claudio Gouveia, 35, was jailed for 12 years last month after also being convicted of attempted murder and domestic violence following the attack in the holiday resort of Alvor in May 2017.

Ms Chessell, 29, from Newport, Isle of Wight, was scarred for life in the assault, which unfolded when her violent former boyfriend lured her to a fake date he arranged over Tinder.

He sent her death threats by phone and email after she fled their home in Madeira following a string of assaults.

Gouveia then persuaded Rodrigues Fonseca to target the brunette after tracking her down to the Algarve where travel firm TUI had relocated her.

The would-be assassin was given him three grams of cocaine by way of payment.

Ms Chessell said in a statement: ‘The last twelve months of my life have been a living nightmare for my family and I after my former partner Claudio Gouveia ordered a cowardly acid attack against me.

‘The physical and mental scars of what happened to me in May 2017 will never ever heal – but today’s lengthy prison sentence for Gouveia will help me move forward with my life knowing that justice has finally been served.

‘Acid attacks are truly the most evil of crimes and my heart goes out to all fellow victims who have shown such bravery and courage in bringing their perpetrators to justice. 

The three women judges who tried Fonseca said in a 49-page written ruling that he had confessed to virtually everything.

Rubbishing his claims he thought it was urine and it had gone over Ellie by accident as he tried to throw the container away, lead judge Patricia Avila ruled: ‘This court doesn’t attribute any credibility to his statement and considers it to be a mere defence strategy.’ 

The judges insisted the acid looked nothing like urine and crime scene photos proved he had deliberately thrown it towards her instead of away from her.

Judge Avila added: ‘Edmundo Fonseca and the other individual acted freely, voluntarily and consciously, following a plan they had planned previously.

‘The accused’s actions seriously affected the victim’s day-to-day life, leaving her with permanent physical scars and negatively affecting her mental state.

‘She suffers from anxiety and post-traumatic stress as a direct result of his behavior.’ 

The judges’ sentencing remarks said Fonseca had showed ‘contempt and indifference’ for Ellie, ‘knowing that without even knowing his victim he would be ending a human life.’ 

Asked by the lead judge if he understood what had happened after his conviction was read out, Rodrigues Fonseca said: ‘Yes’ in Portuguese before being lead away.

The 43-year-old’s lawyer Filipe Cavaco said afterwards that he would appeal because he felt the sentence was too harsh.

Gouveia used his trial to claim his hitman pal, a divorced former building contractor who got hooked on drugs after the break-up of his marriage, had acted alone and not on his orders.

But the judges who tried him branded his assertions ‘fantasy.’ 

Ms Chessell, who is still too ill to return to work, identified Rodrigues Fonseca when he went on trial as the man who attacked her.

The court heard he and Gouveia scoped out the area where she was targeted after travelling to Madeira to the Algarve. They then returned days later to carry out the attack.

Ms Chessell’s ex got her to the spot where she was hurt by posing as a wealthy businessman called Diogo and setting up a dinner date on Tinder.

 

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