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Spurned lover who threw acid on to sleeping ex gets 12 years

Sadistic attack: Berlinah Wallace disfigured Mark van Dongen PICS: AVON AND SOMERSET POLICE/PA

THE father of an engineer driven to end his own life after a ‘sadistic’ acid attack by his former girlfriend has condemned her prison sentence as ‘too little’.

Berlinah Wallace was yesterday jailed for life with a minimum of 12 years after pouring acid over the face of Mark van Dongen, 29, as he slept in her flat.

The 48-year-old laughed after throwing the 98 per cent concentrated acid and told Mr van Dongen: ‘If I can’t have you, no one can.’

It was an act described as ‘pure evil’ by judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies.

Her victim fled in agony and his screams of pain were heard by neighbours in Bristol, who dialled 999 while Wallace calmly sat in her lounge chatting to an ex-boyfriend.

‘Mirror image’: Mark and Kees van Dongen

Mr van Dongen was in a coma for four months, suffered extensive burns to his body, was blinded in one eye, paralysed from the neck down and had to have his lower left leg amputated. He suffered 15 months of excruciating pain after the attack on September 23, 2015, before his application for euthanasia under Belgian law was granted.

He told his father Kees: ‘Dad, I’m tired of fighting. I’ve suffered so much pain and I can’t take any more. Please let me go.’

Mr van Dongen died in a Belgian hospital on January 2, 2017.

Fashion student Wallace was acquitted of murder but convicted of throwing a corrosive substance with intent following a four-week trial at Bristol crown court earlier this month. After her sentencing, Kees van Dongen paid tribute to his son as ‘my mirror image’ and said the attack had ‘completely ruined’ his family.

He added: ‘I’m very pleased that she is going to be locked up for 12 years but really it is too little because we as a family have been sentenced to life.

‘I never knew that she was like this and it turns out that she really pulled the wool over our eyes from day one. The minimum term of 12 years isn’t long enough.’

Sentencing, the judge said Wallace’s intention ‘was to burn, disfigure and disable Mark van Dongen so that he would not be attractive to any other woman. It was an act of pure evil.’

From July, the public will need a licence to purchase sulphuric acid with a concentration of more than 15 per cent.