UK

Acid Attack: Mark Van Dongen Murder Trial Jury Dismissed

The victim passed away in a euthanasia clinic.

05/12/2017 15:54 GMT | Updated 05/12/2017 15:58 GMT

A woman accused of murder after she allegedly threw acid in her ex-partner’s face will face a retrial after a jury was discharged.

Berlinah Wallace, 48, was charged with murdering Mark Van Dongen who was left partially blinded and paralyzed. 

The Bristol Crown Court jury was dismissed by the honourable Mrs Justice May DBE, who told them the trial was stopping due to legal reasons. 

SWNS
Mark van Dongen passed away in a euthanasia clinic in January 

The alleged acid attack happened in September 2015. 

The matter was due to be the subject of a trial the following year, but the Crown Prosecution Service received confirmation from van Dongen’s father in Belgium that his son had died. 

Wallace then pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder between September 22, 2015 and January 3, 2017. 

The trial was adjourned on November 20 by Judge May to allow a question of law to be further discussed. 

SWNS
Berlinah Wallace will be remanded in custody until the trial resumes next year 

They jury was called back last week where Justice May told them the trial was halting and they were being discharged because the legal matters were continuing and there was no knowing when they would finish. 

She told them: “When I adjourned this trial just over a week ago it was for the consideration of a legal matter. We cannot say for certain when it will be finalised. 

“In these circumstances there is no option but to discharge you from further service at this trial. Thank you very much for your service in this trial.” 

Mrs Justice May remanded Wallace in custody and fixed a provisional trial date of April 17 next year. 

The defendant, who denies the charge of murder, also faces a charge of throwing a corrosive substance with intent. 

The court previously heard van Dongen ran out into the street screaming in pain after the alleged attack on September 23, 2015, in the Westbury Park area of Bristol. 

The Dutch-born civil engineer suffered 15 months of agony before taking his own life at a euthanasia clinic in Belgium on January 2, 2017. 

The jury heard van Dongen had lost the sight in his left eye and most of the sight in his right eye. 

He lost his lower left leg, which was amputated, was confined to a hospital bed, for a long time unable to move anything other than his tongue and that while his physical condition improved a little - he regained the power of speech - he was left paralysed from the neck down. 

Wallace claims she thought she was throwing a glass of water over van Dongen.