Katie Piper saved acid attack victim’s life by talking her out of suicide

An acid attack victim has told how Katie Piper pulled her from the brink of suicide as she struggled to cope.

Ellie Chessell, 30, said the Strictly star and fellow sufferer helped her battle her mental and physical traumas as she hit rock bottom.

She added: “Without Katie’s support I don’t know if I’d be here today.”

As Ellie slumped to her lowest ebb struggling to deal with the horrors of an acid attack, she was plagued by suicidal thoughts.

But the 30-year-old told how fellow victim Piper stepped in at a crucial time and pulled her back from the brink.

Tour rep Ellie was left with horrific injuries after a hitman doused her in acid on the orders of her jealous ex-boyfriend Claudio Gouveia.

Her skin was “dripping to the floor like a horror movie”.

The physical injuries were compounded by psychological trauma. But just as Ellie hit rock bottom, Strictly star Katie, 34, reached out to her.


Ellie said: “I was a walking, ticking ­time- bomb and it scares me to think what would have become of me if Katie hadn’t stepped in.

“She saved me from the brink of suicide. She got me in to see a psychologist when I wasn’t sleeping and the nightmares were horrific.

“I was suffering post-traumatic stress and had terrible mood swings and I had no idea how to handle it.

“Without Katie’s support I don’t know if I’d be here today.

“I didn’t want to go out in public and had suicidal thoughts at my lowest ebb but she made me believe I wasn’t abnormal or a freak.”

Ellie suffered third-degree burns to her arms, chest and stomach in the Portugal acid attack in May last year.


Her brother Ryan, 37, contacted The Katie Piper Foundation for her when she returned to Britain.

And TV presenter Katie was one of the first to get in touch.

Ellie, of the Isle of Wight, said: “She just puts you at ease. It was lovely talking to someone who knows exactly what it’s like.”

She said Katie helped her see a burns specialist at Odstock Hospital, Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Ellie said: “It it wasn’t for her, my ­physical scars would have been much, much worse. The burns would have started healing and been really lumpy.

“Aside from my family, Katie was the person who was always there for me. I really feel my life is good now.”

Gouveia, 35, was jailed for 12 years for attempted murder. Hitman Edmundo Fonseca, 44, got nine years. Both are said to have appealed their sentences.

Katie’s attacker Stefan Sylvestre, 30, was given life for throwing sulphuric acid at her face in 2008 on the orders of her ex David Lynch. He was jailed for a minimum of 16 years.

Last month the Mirror revealed that Sylvestre is being considered for parole.

Ellie said: “I feel for her, I’m terrified about the day my ex will get out so she must be absolutely horrified.”

Katie, who was left partially blind after her attack, said: “Ellie has made such amazing progress thanks to her bravery and the dedication of her NHS team.

“ It’s so kind of Ellie to remember what we did, and wonderful to see her making fantastic leaps forward in her recovery.”

  • www.katiepiperfoundation.org.uk

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