Alvor acid attack mastermind handed 12-year sentence
Cláudio Gouveia has been found guilty of ordering the acid attack on his former girlfriend, and is to spend 12 years in jail.
Ellie Chessel, a Tui rep aged 29, suffered burns over 60% of her body after she was attacked in the street by Edmundo Fonseca, whose is being held in Silves jail and whose prosecution now will be scheduled.
Fonseca will have his own trial as he was detained months after Gouveia and the court failed to notify him in time to be tried in the same case.
Despite the panel of judges agreeing that Gouveia was callous and continued to deny any involvement in the case, they could have handed out a sentence of 25-years but agreed on less than half. The Public Prosecutor wanted the full stretch and may appeal for a higher sentence to be imposed
Gouveia was found guilty of attempted manslaughter and of domestic violence. The crimes occurred in May 2017, in Alvor, Portimão.
According to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Cláudio Gouveia, 34, designed a “cruel and macabre plan” against his former-girlfriend.
The couple had lived in Madeira but separated. Ellie moved to the Algarve but was tracked down by Gouveia who hired Fonseca to set up a meeting with the victim using a false profile on Tinder.
The accused had sent several messages to the victim and her mother in the Isle of Wight, one of which stated that he was going to ‘burn her face’.
It also was proved that on the day of the attack, Cláudio Gouveia had watched the attack in which his ex-girlfriend was doused in two litres of acid by Fonseca.
Gouveia also was ordered to pay damages of €5,000 to the victim and is forbidden to approach Eleanor for a period of five years after his sentence ends.
A statement from Ellie Chessell was forwarded by the Britsh Embassy in Lisbon on Thursday evening:
“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.
“Firstly I would like to thank lead judge Cristina Mira for her handling of the case and finding Gouveia guilty of attempted murder and domestic violence.
“I hope his lengthy prison sentence will give him time to reflect on the severity of his crimes and help deter other individuals from carrying out such horrific acts.
“All the fabulous staff at Hospital Santa Maria in Lisbon whose expert medical care and kindness has slowly helped me rebuild my life. Also Odstock Hospital in Wiltshire for their brilliant aftercare in the UK.
“Sonia Correia, the Portuguese police inspector whose dedication and hard work along with her team helped bring Gouveia to justice in what has been a long and complex investigation.
“TUI for their continuous support throughout all of this for myself and my family and the British Consulate in Portimao in particular Ana Sofia Bono.
“And last but certainly not least my family who have been at my side constantly supporting me through some very dark times.
“I love you all very much. Thank you.”
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