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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

'It's a life sentence for me, I feel like a monster': Acid attack victim Patricia Lefranc speaks out for the first time since spurned lover was found

-Patricia Lefranc, 48, left disfigured after sulphuric acid attack
-Spurned lover Richard Remes, 57, jailed for attempted murder
-Thought of seeing children happy and married keeps her going

By Sadie Whitelocks

Patricia Lefranc with daughter Marie after Richard Remes was found guilty of attempted murder

She was an attractive blonde 40-something woman, but now acid attack victim Patricia Lefranc describes herself as a 'monster'.

The mother-of-three who was repeatedly splashed with sulphuric acid by her spurned lover Richard Remes in 2009 has publicly spoken for the first time of the horrific attack that has left her physically and emotionally scarred for life.

During the incident her nose and eyelids were melted away and she also lost a finger, sight in one eye and hearing in one ear. She also came close to death, as the corrosive substance nearly burned through her heart and lungs, but incredibly her breast implants stopped further deterioration.

After enduring 86 operations and with a further 30 skin-grafts to go the 48-year-old remains in chronic pain but says the thought of seeing her children one day happy and married keeps her going.

Speaking to Closer magazine about her horrific ordeal following her attacker's sentencing on March 22, Patricia said: 'He turned me into a monster. Some days, I just cry.

'People stare at me and mock my appearance. It's a life sentence for me, so why shouldn't it be for him.'

Patricia, who previously worked as a janitor first met Remes, 57, while they were living in the same apartment block in Brussels in December 2008.

Before and after: Patricia Lefranc was seriously disfigured in the attack carried out by her ex-lover

Richard Remes insisted that he didn't realise the sulphuric acid would have such devastating consequences

After a brief conversation in the lift he asked her out for a drink and more dates ensued.

But after several meetings she was devastated to learn that Remes was married with five children and called off the relationship.

She added: 'I was shocked and said we should just be friends - we hadn't slept together and I wasn't about to break up a family.'

But Remes was determined for the relationship to continue and the pair soon started meeting twice a week and Patricia's flat.

At one point his wife found out about the tryst and threw him out but Remes returned to his family while continuing to meet with Patricia in secret.

It was only on a holiday in Egypt in 2009 that Patricia became aware of Remes's dark streak when he started talking about violent films that involved torturing women and when they returned home she refused to see him again.

Brave: Patricia Lefranc (right) with her lawyer Daniel Spreutels (left) said her former lover 'destroyed her life'

It was this event that triggered his increasingly obsessive behaviour and he was even spotted by locals wearing a T-shirt printed with a picture of Patricia's face and the words 'I love you' shortly after.

She alerted the police, but they told her to move house and four-days later she was visited at her flat on suburbs of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean by Remes who was disguised as a parcel courier.

As soon as she answered the buzzer he splashed a container of acid all over her face and upper body.

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. Her children, Laetitia now 28, Marie, 18, and Joey, 13, kept a vigil at her beside and Remes was arrested thanks to an eye witness.

Speaking on the first day of his trial for attempted murder in Belgium last month, Patricia said she was 'determined to look him in the eye and show the jury what he has done to me'.

She added: 'I hope to convince the court that he did indeed want to murder me.'

And she succeeded as Remes was sentenced to 30 years in prison for attempted murder. During the trial he insisted that he didn't realise the sulphuric acid he sprayed would have such devastating consequences.

In court Patricia 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.'



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