AFTER a spate of high profile acid attacks leaving victims scarred for life – the government has announced plans to crackdown on the sale of corrosive substances.
But even though the proposals are a start, for acid attack survivor Adele Bellis, the new laws don’t go far enough.
Adele, 25, from Lowestoft, had her ear destoyed and was left partially bald after her ex-boyfriend Anthony Riley, 28, arranged for sulphuric acid to be hurled in her face by a balaclava-clad thug while she stood at a bus stop in August 2014.
Riley was jailed in 2015 at Ipswich Crown Court after he was found guilty of paying accomplice Jason Harrison, 27, £500 to carry out the sickening attack.
Earlier this week at the Tory party conference, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced plans to ban the sale of acid to under-18s.
She also said that she would be suggesting new laws to target people caught carrying acid – modeled on a similar crackdown on knife possession, which now carries a maximum four-year jail term.
But for Adele the proposed new laws are not enough, especially as her attacker was almost 10 years older than the proposed banning age and carried the acid in a seemingly innocent container.
She told the Sun Online: “It is a start but it is not going to stop or prevent acid attacks, especially when you look at the majority of people who have been convicted are older than 18.
“There’s obviously been a few attacks in London by younger people but even then at the same time, if people really want to get their hands on acid they will do it.
“My attacker was carrying his acid in a drinks bottle. It was so easy to hide. He looked as though he was just shaking up his drink.”
In the months leading up to having acid thrown in her face, Adele had been physically and psychologically attacked by her ex Riley and he had even arranged for a heroin addict to stab her in the mouth.
And the torment continued until he paid Harrison to throw the corrosive substance at Adele in 2014.
She explained: “I’ve never really been able to describe the pain. I just felt like I was burning alive.
“I was burning and I could feel myself melting. I instantly knew I hadn’t got an ear. I could just feel my face melting.
“People came out of their houses with water but as soon as they put it on me my skin started smoking. The smell will never leave me. I can still smell it now.”
Adele has been left with permanent scarring on the side of her face, and has now wrote a book about her ordeal called Brave, which charts how she has tried to rebuild her life.
But she believes that the only way to stop acid attacks is to make sentences for those convicted much tougher and make them go to jail for life.
Adele added: “For me, people who commit acid attacks should be given automatic life sentences. It is the only way you can deter people from doing it.
“The victims have to live with the ordeal of an acid attack for life, so why shouldn’t the people who do it to them go away for life?
“I’ve always said we need much tougher sentences. My attacker only got two years. I talk to other people who have been the victims of acid attacks and we all say the same thing.
“I’ve been campaigning for three years and nothing has been done, it doesn’t seem the government is listening.
“We can talk about it all we like but we need more action and tougher sentences.”