‘If I can be positive, I’m winning’ - Lowestoft acid attack victim Adele Bellis talks to Lorraine Kelly ahead of book launch
- Credit: ITV News
The victim of a horrific acid attack has spoken about how she plans to stay positive and not let her attackers break her spirit as she launches a new book about her ordeal tomorrow.
Adele Bellis lost an ear and was left partially bald, with severe burns down the side of her face and body, after her controlling ex-boyfriend Anthony Riley paid accomplice Jason Harrison to carry out the attack at a Pakefield bus stop in August 2014.
Her new autobiographical book Brave, which hits the bookshelves tomorrow, tells the story of how she was in an increasingly abusive relationship for six years.
It began with her boyfriend Anthony Riley stopping her from seeing friends and wearing certain clothes and developed into beating her up, having her stabbed and posting revenge porn.
The new book, published by HarperCollins, aims to help other women recognise the early danger signs of domestic abuse.
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In an interview on ITV1's Lorraine this morning (Wednesday, September 21), the 24-year-old said that Harrison - now serving a four year and four month prison sentence - was in many ways a victim of Riley's behaviour, as he claimed he had been forced into it.
But despite receiving a letter from him while he was in HMP Peterborough, Miss Bellis said: 'He's still done this to me - I can't forgive him for that.'
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Speaking of her relationship with Riley, she said: 'It was easier to be with him than without him,' because: 'If I wasn't with him, it would be more hell for me.
She described telling the police about her ordeal as a 'wake-up call' and said: 'From then, I thought: 'I'm going to fight to get the justice I deserve.
'If I can be positive and get on with my life, then I'm winning.'
In the interview, Mrs Kelly also told Miss Bellis: 'You look beautiful' after more than two years of surgery, which has included specialist treatment in France.
Miss Bellis also spoke about how the famous model Katie Piper, who was victim to a similar acid attack and has set up a charity to help other victims, had been a great support during her recovery.
'It's been really nice to have someone I can relate to,' Miss Bellis said.
The chapters in the book include the titles Control, Jealousy, Isolation, Blame, Anger and Violence and chart the way Riley increasingly undermined Miss Bellis to exert control.
Teaching children about domestic abuse
How to deal with domestic abuse should be put on the National Curriculum to be taught to both boys and girls, Adele Bellis has said as she plans to give talks in schools on the subject.
'I strongly believe if girls can be taught about controlling relationships it'll help prevent them from getting into unhealthy relationships in the first place,' the 24-year-old said.
'Prevention is so much easier than cure.
'When you're in your first relationship you don't really know what's normal and what isn't so young people need guidance as to what is and isn't acceptable. It's not just about educating girls, it's about educating boys.
'It needs to be understood by men that this controlling behaviour is wrong and I believe by telling boys it's actually weak behaviour it'll help make it more socially unacceptable.
'I can't wait to go into schools and talk to pupils because I think I'm young enough still for them to relate to me.'