Dad of acid attack victim Mark Van Dongen says he treated girlfriend who doused him 'like his own daughter' – as he reveals son's final words
Cornelius Van Dongen also revealed that tragic Mark Van Dongen's final words before dying by euthanasia were: “Dad I'm tired of fighting – I've suffered so much pain and I can't take anymore. Please let me go”.
Berlinah Wallace, 48, was acquitted of murdering Mark, but was convicted, after a four-week trial, of throwing a corrosive substance with intent.
She bought a bottle of 98 per cent concentration sulphuric acid and viewed 82 websites about it – including post-mortem images – after Mark, 29, left her for another woman.
Wallace threw the liquid over the engineer as he slept in bed at her flat in Westbury Park, Bristol, at 3am on September 23 2015, and laughed as she told him: "If I can't have you, no-one else can."
The 29-year-old was left in a coma for four months, suffered extensive burns to his body, was left blind in one eye, paralysed from the neck down and had to have his lower left leg amputated.
He died by euthanasia at a hospital in Belgium on January 2, 2017.
Struggling to hold back tears while reading a victim impact statement at Bristol Crown Court today Cornelius branded Wallace “a danger to society".
He said: "Berlinah was always treated as our own daughter – I and my wife spent a New Year with her and Mark in Bristol and they visited us in Belgium.
"I hope that justice will prevail and that she will be locked up for the rest of her life because she is a danger to society.
"I feel like a broken man – I am completely drained.
"My son Mark was gentle, sensitive and accommodating. As a result even his friends occasionally took advantage.
"Nothing was ever too much for him – he always tried to resolve any problems as they arose.”
Cornelius went on to describe the excruciating final months of his Mark's life – and said Berlinah was paranoid and money-obsessed.
He added: "Berlinah was sometimes frustrated because I used to speak Dutch to Mark – it made her suspicious that we were talking about her which wasn't true.
"For her it was all about money, money money provided she didn't have to do anything for it herself.
"The fact that Mark, a 29-year-old man and recent graduate, decided to commit euthanasia says something about the condition he was in and the pain he was suffering.
"He said 'Dad, I'm tired of fighting – I've suffered so much pain and I can't take it anymore. Please let me go'.
"I hope that I will get over it one day."
Wallace will be sentenced tomorrow.
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