Release of Acid Attacker ‘Really Difficult’ Says TV Celebrity Katie Piper

August 24, 2018 Updated: October 13, 2018

The man who threw acid over model turned TV presenter Katie Piper is to be released from jail after 11 years, according to the parole board.

Piper, who will star in upcoming TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” said it was a “really difficult time,” as the parole board confirmed the planned release of Stefan Sylvestre, 30, who left her with permanent scarring from sulphuric acid.

Sylvestre carried out the attack in 2008 at the request of Piper’s obsessively jealous ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch, who had a previous conviction for pouring boiling water over a man.

Piper responded to his imminent release on social media.

Piper said in a statement on Twitter, “This is a really difficult time for me. I am trying to come to terms with the decision and this is something I need to deal with. Over the past two weeks ‘Strictly’ has already given me such a welcome and positive distraction from my past.”

“Whilst there is never a good time to hear this news, I am glad I have this new journey to concentrate on. Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate it,”she continued.

Katie Piper acid
Katie Piper at the WellChild Awards at The Dorchester on Oct. 3, 2016, in London. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Piper, a model at the time, went on to rebuild her career as a presenter, and author after she featured in a Channel 4 documentary, “Katie: My Beautiful Face in 2009.”

A representative for the parole board confirmed a panel of the parole board had directed  Sylvestre’s release following an oral hearing.

“Parole board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release,” the representative said.

“The panel will have carefully looked at a whole range of evidence, including details of the original evidence and any evidence of behaviour change.”

The board noted that less than 1 percent of offenders commit further serious offences after a release decision.

Sylvestre had been given a life sentence, and was expected to serve a minimum of six years.

Acid attack organisations and experts have called for a change in the law, which they say allows gangs to carry acid as an alternative to knives and guns without fear of prosecution.

Just a year after the attack, Piper launched the Katie Piper Foundation to campaign for more specialist help for burns victims.

Piper isn’t the only celebrity to have drawn focus on the UK’s growing acid attack problems.

Acid Attack on the Rise

In April 2017, 18 people were burned and two blinded in one eye in a recent acid attack in a London club, with the former boyfriend of a reality TV star arrested and charged.

The high-profile attack at the Mangle E8 nightclub underscores a rapid increase in acid attacks over the last three years in the United Kingdom and notably in London.

But it is usually gangs, not jealous boyfriends, carrying out the attacks.

And in the UK the victims are usually male, on contrast with acid attacks in other parts of the world, that are typically “honour-based” attacks on women.

London gangs east end
Late afternoon sunshine falls on the financial district in East London in 2014. Some areas of East London have seen a rash of gang-related acid attacks carried out by men against other men. (Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

Experts said the increasing number of attacks appears to be due to East London gangs swapping knives for acid, to build up fearsome reputations.

Acid attacks have long been common in Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East and are on the rise in some developing nations. But the recent trend in the UK appears unique among developed countries.

CCTV footage was released of the suspects in connection with an attack with a corrosive substance on a 3-year-old boy in Worcester, July 21, 2018. (West Mercia Police)

Simon Harding, senior lecturer in criminology at Middlesex University and expert on London gangs previously told The Epoch Times that it’s very hard to tell from the numbers the real level of attacks or the precise reasons, but said it appears to have become “voguish” in gang culture.

In July four men were arrested in connection with an acid attack on a 3-year-old.

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An earlier version of this article stated that Sylvestre had been released. It has been updated to reflect that fact that at the time writing, although his imminent release had been officially agreed, it was not confirmed he had been released at the time. 

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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