Before and after: Patricia Lefranc was seriously disfigured in the attack allegedly carried out by her ex-lover
Incredible bravery of acid attack victim as she arrives to testify against married lover who scalded her when she dumped him.Patricia Lefranc, 48, left disfigured after sulphuric acid attack.She had been mistress of married Richard Remes, 57.He “launched assault after she ended relationship”
A mother whose face was hideously deformed by acid sprayed by her married lover appeared in court today and accused him of “turning me into a monster”.
Speaking on the first day of Richard Remes”s trial for attempted murder in Belgium, Patricia Lefranc said she was “determined to look him in the eye and show the jury what he has done to me”.
The 48-year-old, who underwent 86 operations following the attack, added: “I hope to convince the court that he did indeed want to murder me.”
Remes, 57, is said to have planned the sulphuric acid attack after Ms Lefranc ended their relationship just over two years ago.
Ms Lefranc told Brussels Assizes that December 1, 2009 was the day Remes “finally destroyed my life.”
She said he was waiting for her as she emerged from a lift in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.
He sprayed the sulphuric acid, once referred to as “oil of vitriol” by medieval European alchemists, all over her head and upper body, she told the court.
She said she was convinced she would die, but neighbours in a nearby building heard her screams and managed to get her to the burns unit of a nearby hospital, where she lay in a coma for three months.
Ms Lefranc said: “I hope Remes is convicted of attempted murder, and not just for assault and battery with torture. He did not just want to hurt me, he wanted me out of the way. I just hope that I get to tell the court what I experienced, and how it hurt.
Accused: Richard Remes (top) talks with his lawyers on the first day of his trial
“I would also appeal to his wife. She paints me as a manipulator who hooked her husband. I think that”s an insult – a dagger in my back.
“He made the first step in starting a relationship, and I had to bring it to a close. Let”s reverse the roles, but don”t tell me how seriously he should be punished.
“I leave that to the court, but while working out the punishment don”t lose sight of the fact that he condemned me to pain, both physical and psychological, for life.”
Ms Lefranc said her son’s school friends now regularly mock her appearance, adding: “Remes has also ruined my life as a woman. Who once to deal with the monster that he made me
“I”m stared at on the street. Worse, I”m used as an example of what can happen to a woman who wants to put an end to a love affair.”
A 22-year-old woman is said to have been threatened by a boyfriend who said: “Remember what happened to Patricia Lefranc”, said Ms Lefranc.
As well as psychological torture, Ms Lefranc said she was in constant physical pain, and all of it reminded her of the horror of the attack.
Brave: Patricia Lefranc (right) with her lawyer Daniel Spreutels (left) said her former lover “destroyed her life”
She said: “When I look in the mirror, every fibre of my body reminds me of what happened. The doctors had me in an artificial coma for months.
“I lost the sight in my left eye, and hearing in an ear – my right ring finger was amputated. By the time I got to my eightieth operation, I stopped counting.
“But I know that I still have about twenty operations to go. The acid which he maimed me, is worse than a weapon of war. It still gnaws at me.
“My nose is quietly shrinking away and will eventually be replaced by a prosthesis. That will be the last and perhaps most difficult surgery.
“For three months I will have to wear a mask to hide the gaping hole in the middle of my face. Only then can the final prosthesis be implanted.
“That mask must be removed daily for cleaning. No, I will not handle that – a nurse will be doing it.”
Remes has apologised for the attack, denying that he meant to maim her. His defence is that he did not realise the sulphuric acid he sprayed would have such a devastating effect.
Remes told the court how he started his relationship with Lefranc, who was the janitor of their block of flats, in 2009.
He said: “I moved with my wife and children to the building on Avenue Sippelberg in 2006. Patricia was already living there. She was a janitor. At first we just said hello, that”s all.
“Then her relationship with her ex boyfriend ended. And, in late 2008, she asked me two or three time to do small jobs in her house that she could not do herself.
“One day, at the beginning of 2009, I offered to go for coffee. We went to a hotel and our relationship began.” The case continues.