After publicly denying that he had anything to do with it, Madeiran Cláudio Gouveia has been arrested on suspicion that he was indeed behind the vile acid attack that left former girlfriend and travel rep Eleanor “Ellie” Chessell with horrific burns to as much as 60% of her body.
The brutal incident – an alleged ‘contracted hit’ – shocked the Algarve earlier this month, and 28-year-old Ellie is believed to be still in the care of a Lisbon burns unit recovering from her injuries.
The popular tourist destination of Alvor and the word ‘acid attack’ simply do not go together. Nevertheless, Saturday May 6 saw the young woman from Newport in the Isle of Wight lured to a spot near Intermarché supermarket where a man she claims to have never seen before threw two-litres of highly corrosive liquid all over her.
Police who came to her aid were overcome by the fumes and had to be treated in hospital, while witnesses talked of Ellie’s clothes “melting like wax” on her body as she writhed in agony on the pavement.
Investigators belief, from the outset, was that this was a hit organised by a ‘lover scorned’.
Claúdio Gouveia was quickly traced to his native town of Funchal – but he told reporters he knew nothing about it (click here).
Dubbing Ellie’s attacker an “animal”, he told media sources that he was “praying for her recovery”.
Tonight he has been remanded in custody in Funchal, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã, under suspicion of having planned and ordered the attack.
It is not clear if the ‘third party’ involved – the man who actually threw the acid – has been arrested. Details emerging may corroborate this tomorrow (Wednesday).
For now, a statement from Portimão’s PJ police suggests the crime was motivated by Gouveia being “unable to accept the end of his relationship” with Ellie some months before.