In September 2015, Berlinah Wallace, upset that her five-year relationship with Mark van Dongen was ending, allegedly threw sulfuric acid over him as he lay in bed at her apartment in Bristol, England. Fifteen months later, van Dongen, 29—who lost a leg, ear, and eye (as well as most of the vision in his other eye) and was paralyzed from the neck down and forced to communicate through an alphabet board—chose to end his life in a Belgian euthanasia clinic. Now Wallace, 48, is charged with his murder, the BBC reports. During her trial this week—she denies the charges—the court heard from van Dongen's father, who says his son's condition had worsened in the weeks prior to his Jan. 2 death, and he told his father, "My life has come to nothing and there is nothing left."
Wallace and van Dongen had lived together, but their relationship began unraveling in August 2015 when van Dongen began an affair. On the day before the alleged attack, he reportedly told Wallace he still loved her and wanted to make their relationship work, but that night he went to see the other woman again, SWNS reports. After an argument upon his return, Wallace left for a hotel, but she returned around 3am. Prosecutors say she told van Dongen, "If I can't have you, no one will" while tossing the acid onto his face and body; he was wearing only boxer shorts at the time. Neighbors found him screaming in the street and helped him into a shower. One testified in court that van Dongen told them Wallace was to blame, and that they saw her sitting on the couch on her phone, looking "sullen and serious." She says she thought she was only throwing water over him.