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Angry ex-girlfriend sentenced to 12 years for pouring sulfuric acid over half-naked man


Berlinah Wallace attacked her ex-boyfriend with sulfuric acid when he told her he was seeing someone new. (Avon and Somerset Police/AFP/Getty Images)

An irate woman who poured sulfuric acid all over her ex-boyfriend's body after he told her he was seeing someone else was sentenced to 12 years in prison Wednesday in a Bristol court.

The man was so badly burned he later ended his life.

Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen and Berlinah Wallace had met through a dating service for HIV-positive people and dated on and off for five years before he left her in 2015, the BBC reported.

That's when a fuming Wallace began plotting her revenge.

She started to research sulfuric acid online, visiting 82 websites about the substance, prosecutors said, according to media reports.

About a month after van Dongen told Wallace he had moved on, she lured him to her home — under the guise of starting their relationship anew.

Van Dongen insisted he wasn't interested, but spent the night with Wallace anyway, according to reports.

Wallace then attacked her unsuspecting ex, who was wearing only his boxers, in the middle of the night.

"If I can't have you, no one can," she said, before pouring a mug full of acid on his exposed face and body, the BBC reported.

Van Dongen was so badly burned that he later ended his life.

A British judge on Wednesday sentenced Wallace, 49, to a minimum of 12 years in prison, calling the attack "an act of pure evil."

The scene where Berlinah Wallace, 48, poured sulphuric acid on Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen in Bristol in 2015 while he slept.
The scene where Berlinah Wallace, 48, poured sulphuric acid on Dutch engineer Mark van Dongen in Bristol in 2015 while he slept. (Avon and Somerset Police)

"Your intention was to burn, disfigure and disable Mark van Dongen so that he would not be attractive to any other woman," the judge said, according to the BBC.

The 29-year-old victim's father, Kees van Dongen, said the sentence was too light.

"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 told reporters.

The corrosive substance burned 25% of van Dongen's body, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. The attack also caused him to lose an ear, an eye and a leg.

He was horrified when he first saw his reflection.

"Kill me now," he said, according to Rachel Oaten, who decontaminated him at the hospital, the Sun reported. "If my face is going to be left looking like this I don't want to live," he reportedly said.

He spent four months in a coma with only the ability to move his tongue.

His condition continued to deteriorate and he was transferred to a hospital in Belgium, where doctors recommended a procedure that would take away his voice.

Van Dongen decided he no longer wanted to live, and a panel of three doctors ruled him eligible for euthanasia, citing his "unbearable physical and psychological suffering."

He ended his life 15 months after the attack, on Jan. 2, 2017.