Berlinah Wallace Sentenced To Life In Jail For Acid Attack On Boyfriend Mark Van Dongen

Chris York
A woman found guilty of throwing acid over her ex-partner, which prompted him

A woman found guilty of throwing acid over her ex-partner, which prompted him to take his own life at an assisted dying clinic 15 months later, has been sentenced to 12 years in jail 

Berlinah Wallace, 48, was initially accused of murdering Mark Van Dongen, who was left partially blinded and paralysed after the attack in September 2015. 

Wallace was acquitted of the murder charge but was last week found guilty of throwing a corrosive substance with intent at Bristol Crown Court.

The judge told Wallace: “You chose your moment for the attack.

“It occurred when Mark van Dongen, wearing only boxer shorts, was asleep in the bed which you had shared in your flat.

“Vulnerable, almost naked, he awoke but had no real opportunity to avoid the focus of your acid attack, namely his face and then his body.

“Immediately before you threw the acid you said to Mark, ‘If I can’t have you, no-one can’.”

The judge said Wallace had bought the 98% concentration sulphuric acid to “attack” van Dongen, an engineer, because he had left her for another woman.

During the trial the jury was told that he had lost the sight in his left eye and most of the sight in his right eye; his lower left leg, which was amputated; was confined to a hospital bed and was unable to move anything other than his tongue for many months. 

While his physical condition improved a little after the attack – he regained the power of speech – he was left paralysed from the neck down, and was said to have suffered 15 months of intense pain before taking his own life at a euthanasia clinic in Belgium on January 2, 2017.  

A jury of 10 men and two women acquitted Wallace of Van Dongen’s murder or manslaughter, but found her guilty of throwing a corrosive substance.

His father said there were “only losers in this case” and that he hoped his son “can now rest in peace”.