"My scars represent my freedom."
Adele Bellis was attacked in the August of 2014. Her ex-partner, Anthony Riley, paid Jason Harrison to throw acid at her. She was waiting for the bus into work when Jason approached her, he threw the corrosive liquid over her right shoulder. Adele’s injuries covered the right side of her head, chest, leg and arm. The drip marks on the bus shelter shown in the photo above are a result of the acid.
Adele and Anthony’s relationship was on-off for 6 years, it was abusive and hostile. Adele officially called it off in 2013, but that’s when the hate crimes began. Victim to Anthony’s evil character, Adele found herself hurt by his hands on several occasions. One night, Anthony insisted on seeing Adele. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, threatening to come to her house if she didn’t meet him. They met and went to the cinema together. Adele, fearful that he would turn at any point, acted as if nothing was wrong. On the way back from watching the film, Anthony and Adele were walking down an alleyway. A man jumped from the shadows and stabbed Adele in the face. Anthony fought off the attacker and called the ambulance, making himself out to be the hero. Investigations later discovered he had paid the man to carry out the attack. Four months later Adele was attacked with acid, Anthony persisted to try and ruin Adele's life; she was a prisoner in his sick, evil game.
The attacker, Jason Harrison, was just a regular guy, no previous history with the police, Anthony manipulated Harrison, threatening his family. After several failed attempts, Anthony tied Jason to a tree, put a knife in his mouth and threatened to push his disabled mother off a cliff and throw the acid at him instead. Jason carried out the attack the following day, fearing for his family’s safety. Adele said “Anthony used his vulnerability”.
During the investigation, it was evident that Anthony had maliciously planned this for some time, and with detail. It was discovered that, to test the strength of the acid, he'd bought a live mouse from a pet store and dipped it in the corrosive liquid to see the effects. Anthony Riley received life in prison, minimum term of 14 years. Jason Harrison received the same. However, he got 10 years knocked off for helping convict Anthony as Adele’s Queen witness, and a further 2 years off for good behavior. Leaving him with a total of 2 years in prison.
During Jason's imprisonment, he wrote a letter to Adele asking to meet with her, she accepted. However, there was a purposeful miscommunication between the two legal teams, keeping them apart. The purpose of meeting him Adele said, would be for him to see and understand the huge impact the attack had on her life. She wanted him to reflect on his actions whilst he was behind bars. But now he is free, Adele has no intention of meeting, or contacting him. The letter included an apology from Jason, explaining how Anthony manipulated him by threatening his family. Although this does not excuse his horrific crime, Adele did sympathise with him as she too was a victim to Anthony's twisted mind games.
Adele's positive attitude has kept her going. She sees her scars to represent her freedom from Anthony. She was taunted by him for so long, she's finally free of him. However, the psychological impact fell on her family, her father especially, Adele now describing him as a "broken man". As a self-employed builder, Kevin struggled to get work after the incident as customers wanted to allow him time to be there for Adele. This however went on for months, Kevin's income saw a huge decline as a result of the incident. This is an issue not many people take into account, the financials. With the copious surgeries and treatments, it soon racked up a large sum of money.