A beautician who was scarred for life in a horrific acid attack orchestrated by her spurned ex-boyfriend has told of her joy at finding love again.
Adele Bellis, 26, from Suffolk was attacked when Anthony Riley arranged for acid to be thrown over her face in 2014, sustaining life-changing injuries.
She lost an ear in the brutal attack and was left partially bald, suffering serious burns to her face, neck and arm, and is still undergoing treatment today.
Now she has described finding romance on Tinder after her friends and family encouraged her to try dating again.
Speaking to Closer magazine, Adele said: ‘I was nervous to get back out on the dating scene and it’s been hard to trust again, but Josh is so wonderful. I know he’s The One and we’ve even talked about marriage and babies.
Acid attack victim Adele Bellis has described finding romance with Josh Mackenzie, 28, (pictured) on Tinder after her friends and family encouraged her to try dating again
Adele Bellis was attacked when her former partner arranged for acid to be thrown over her face in 2014, leaving her with horrific injuries including a missing ear (pictured)
Adele lost an ear in the horrific attack and was left partially bald, with serious burns to her face, neck and arm (pictured recovering from a recent procedure in hospital)
Adele admitted her mum was ‘worried’ about the prospect of her dating, but that her friends encouraged her to try Tinder.
And despite chatting to a few different people on the app, the first meeting she arranged happened to be with Josh Mackenzie, 28.
She explained: ‘I didn’t tell him about the attack until our first date where he told me I was brave and beautiful,’ she said.
‘It took me a while to trust him, but he was so lovely and my parents adored him too.’
Adele’s ex-boyfriend Anthony Riley was sentenced to life with a minimum of 13 years
Adele’s violent ex Anthony Riley, now 29, paid an accomplice to throw acid at her while she stood at a bus stop in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 2014.
The pair met at a pub when Adele was 16 and Riley was 19, and she says he lavished her with gifts and attention.
But his behavior became controlling and violent and, when Adele ended the relationship in 2012, Anthony began turning up to her parents’ house making threats.
Adele tried to escape by taking a job on a cruise ship, but when she returned after a year she bumped into her ex and he began sending her flowers.
In April 2014, a man who Adele didn’t know lunged at her in the street with a knife. He cut her face, and she was left needing 20 stitches and an operation.
This picture was taken fifteen months after the acid attack took place. Alongside the photograph where she can be seen smiling, Adele penned: ‘How the human body heels amazes me’
The brave victim uploaded the above picture to her Instagram account and captioned it: ‘I’m always smiling on my recovery pictures’
Adele with her boyfriend Josh. The couple are now saving for their first home and have even discussed marriage, Adele told Closer magazine this week
Just three weeks later, Anthony uploaded naked pictures of Adele onto his Facebook page.
And in August 2014, when Adele was standing alone at a bus stop, a hooded man walked past and threw liquid into her face.
‘I felt an agonising burning pain and began screaming for water and ran down the road,’ she recalled. ‘The acid burned through my ear and I felt my face melting.’
Adele later learned that her boyfriend was not a labourer like he had described, but was in fact a drug dealer.
Adele is now working as a beautician part-time but is forced to spend much of her time in hospital for ongoing procedures, including a laser treatment every five weeks.
Adele and Josh are making plans for the future together. Josh is supportive, and commented on one of her recent hospital pictures saying: ‘God you’re so beautiful’
Trauma: Adele’s violent ex Anthony Riley, now 29, paid an accomplice to throw acid at her while she stood at a bus stop in Lowestoft, Suffolk 2014. She is still undergoing treatment now
Adele recovering from treatment in hospital. In April 2014, a man who Adele didn’t know lunged at her in the street with a knife. He cut her face, and she was left needing 20 stitches and an operation. A few weeks later she sustained a horrific acid attack
But Josh is supportive, and commented on one of her recent hospital pictures saying: ‘God you’re so beautiful’.
The couple are now saving for their first home and have even discussed marriage, Adele told the magazine.
Riley was sentenced to life with a minimum of 13 years for arranging the attack.
Jason Harrison, who threw the acid at Adele Bellis on the orders of her possessive ex, is now free after serving just two-and-a-half years behind bars.
‘There needs to be a set rule for acid attacks of a life sentence,’ she said in an interview with ITV. ‘I’m scarred for life so why shouldn’t he be given a life sentence?’
Adele has expressed her gratitude to Katie Piper on social media. She said: ‘Wouldn’t be where I am or the person I am if it wasn’t for this woman and the Katie Piper foundation. Very thankful and blessed’
In August 2014, when Adele was standing alone at a bus stop, a hooded man walked past and threw liquid into her face. She is now determined to live her life to the full despite her ordeal
Moving on: Adele and her boyfriend Josh are now saving for their first home and have even discussed marriage, Adele told Closer magazine in an interview this week
Just three weeks after the attack, Adele’s ex Anthony uploaded naked pictures of her onto his Facebook page. Above, she is much happier with her new love, Josh
While Leon Thompson, of Lowestoft, was found guilty of wounding in connection with a knife attack that took place prior to the acid attack.
He was also convicted of conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.
Finally, Daniel Marshall, of Haverhill, who was described as Riley’s driver, admitted conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid with intent.
Speaking of the rise of acid attacks in the UK, survivor Adele told The Mirror: ‘The thought that children as young as two have been caught up in these barbaric attacks is heartbreaking.’
‘We have to act now to protect others in the future.’
The rise of acid attacks
– Fifteen acid attacks take place in Britain every week, a Daily Mirror investigation found
– From January 2015 until May 2018, there were a total of 2,602 such crimes
– From 2007 to 2011, only 100 were recorded
– A 2018 report revealed the number of acid attacks in London alone increased by more than 78 per cent over previous past two years
– There were 465 violent ‘corrosive liquid’ offences recorded in the capital in 2017, up from 260 in 2015
– The number of victims rose from 281 in the whole of 2015 to 487 in the 10 months to October 2017
Adele is now working as a beautician part-time but is forced to spend much of her time in hospital for ongoing procedures, including a laser treatment every five weeks
Adele and Josh have been on holiday to Kos and she’s looking forward to their future together