Prosecutor asks for maximum sentence in Ellie Chessell ‘acid attack’ case
Portugal’s State Prosecutor in the Ellie Chessell ‘acid attack’ case heard in Portimão Court, has suggested that a maximum 25-year sentence would be in order as the defendant had ordered the 'macabre and repulsive' crime.
Carla Neto said in her closing speech on Monday, the last day of the trial, that there could be no doubt about the guilt of Claudio Gouveia, Ellie’s former boyfriend.
“He plotted a cruel plan that I say any ordinary person would find macabre and repulsive,” Neto said to the three women judges, adding the Ellie’s injuries would have been far worse had she not received rapid medical attention.
The prosecutor is pushing for an ‘exemplary sentence,’ accusing Gouveia of repeatedly assaulting Ellie during their relationship and of sending her death threats when she left him, ‘In one of the messages he sent her, he said he wanted to ‘rip her face off with all his strength.’
“Another message sent to the victim’s mother read, “I’m going to burn your face.””
Gouveia, 35, from Madeira, is accused of ordering an accomplice to douse the Tui travel rep with acid after luring her to a rendezvous in Alvor.
Ellie, 29, from Newport in the Isle of Wight, has been left with scars from the burns she suffered on May 6th, 2017.
Gouveia has to wait until June 12th to find out if he is found guilty or innocent, of Chessell’s attempted murder and of domestic violence. The maximum sentence for each is 25 years and 5 years but he will only get 25 years even if found guilty of both crimes as this is the maximum sentence in Portugal.
As for the attacker, Gouveia’s alleged accomplice, Edmundo Helder Rodrigues Fonseca, also from Madeira, he will be tried later but has appeared as a witness in Gouveia’s prosecution.
Fonseca faced questions on Monday and was accused of throwing acid over Ellie after Gouveia had posed as a wealthy businessman on Tinder and set up a date with Chessell.
Fonseca, 44, was in jail in Uganda, pending charges for drugs offences and extradited to Portugal in May. He told the Portimão Court that he wanted to remain silent, which has exasperated Gouveia who said to the judges, “I don’t know what else I can do. Only Edmundo can tell the truth and now he doesn’t want to speak.”
“He is using my trial to prepare his. I am innocent. I had nothing to do with this. Ellie and I had a fantastic relationship, we never had problems. I feel sad and wronged.”
Gouveia’s defence lawyer said in her summing-up that the evidence against her client was, “extremely fragile” as no one had seen him in the area where the travel rep was attacked and there was no proof he had created the fake Tinder profile, “There are email messages sent from accounts he recognises are his, but there is no proof the other accounts belong to him and it was those accounts the threats were sent from.”
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