Man jailed for acid attack on Adele Bellis wins right to appeal on a technicality
- Credit: James Bass
A Lowestoft man serving a life sentence for arranging a savage acid attack on his ex-girlfriend has won the right to appeal on a technicality.
Beautician Adele Bellis, 24, was left with severe scarring and lost an ear after having sulphuric acid thrown over her.
Anthony Edward Riley was found guilty of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm, conspiracy to apply a corrosive liquid and false imprisonment.
The 27-year-old, of Raglan Road, was jailed for life at Ipswich Crown Court in October 2015.
But top judges have now paved the way for him to challenge his convictions at the Court of Appeal in London, after hearing one of his fellow plotters made a deal with prosecutors - though warned him he may struggle to overturn his conviction.
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The court heard Ms Bellis was waiting at a bus stop in August 2014 when a man called Jason Harrison threw acid at her.
The prosecution case against Riley was that he arranged the attack, offering to pay Harrison £500 to carry it out.
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Crown lawyers also alleged he arranged for another man to stab Ms Bellis in the face and that he forcibly held her in his flat on two previous occasions.
Riley denied the charges and claimed Harrison had carried out the attack to get back at him.
Harrison, 29, of Princes Road, Lowestoft, was jailed for four years after admitting his guilt.
Nigel Power QC, representing Riley, told the Appeal Court Harrison had made an agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service which was not known about by Riley's legal team.
The court heard that, as a result, Harrison was not cross-examined by Riley's lawyers about the agreement.
Mr Power argued this undermined the safety of Riley's convictions, as jurors may have concluded Harrison was lying to get a lighter sentence.
The barrister claimed that Riley had believed that he had 'no option' but to abandon an earlier appeal bid.
Lord Justice Gross, sitting with Mr Justice Popplewell and Judge Richard Griffith-Jones QC, agreed that he should be given a fresh chance to mount an appeal.
But the judge warned Riley that he faces an uphill struggle to convince judges that his convictions should be overturned.
He also refused an appeal against his sentence, saying it was 'entirely warranted.'
If his conviction appeal fails, Riley will serve his life sentence.