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My son had ‘nothing to live for’ after acid attack

Accused: Berlinah Wallace PICTURES: SWNS

AN engineer left paralysed after his former girlfriend threw acid over his face and body took his own life at a euthanasia clinic because he had nothing left to live for, his father said.

Mark Van Dongen, 29, was paralysed from the neck down, ‘grotesquely scarred’ and all but blinded by the attack in September 2015, a murder trial at Bristol crown court heard.

Berlinah Wallace, 48, was said to have told him: ‘If I can’t have you, no one else can’ after he ended their five-year relationship as he had begun seeing another woman.

He just wanted to die’: Acid victim Mark Van Dongen and his dad, Cornelius (below)

Mr Van Dongen, who was living in Bristol, ran out into the street screaming in pain before his neighbour Nicola White took him in, put him in a shower and called 999. Ms White said Mr Van Dongen told her: ‘I told her I was leaving her and she did this to me.’

Dutch-born Mr Van Dongen suffered 15 months of pain before dying at a clinic in Belgium in January.

Mr Van Dongen’s father Cornelius told the jury it was four months before his son could communicate by using an alphabet and another five months before they could speak.

‘He stuck his tongue out and he spelt out “Berlinah”,’ he said.

Speaking through a Dutch interpreter, the father said his son was transferred from a care home in Gloucester to a hospital in Belgium last November as he was distressed and could not settle. ‘He wanted to return to a normal life,’ he said.

‘The fact he couldn’t move his arms was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He completed his application for euthanasia. He said: “My life has come to nothing and there is nothing left. All I have is a different ceiling to look at”.’

Mr Van Dongen said his son needed a tube in his throat after a lung infection and ‘just wanted to die’. He was there when Mark died on January 2.

He said his son had been scared of Ms Wallace and had called police, but received no support.

Wallace, of Bristol, denies murder and applying a corrosive fluid. She claims she thought she was throwing water. The trial continues.