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A British man has been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars after heavily disguising himself and attacking his ex-girlfriend with acid.
Medical student Milad Rouf, 25, was accused of throwing acid at a junior doctor in Brighton, England, on May 20, 2021, according to a Sussex Police press release. Authorities say Rouf showed up at a property in Steine Gardens dressed to look like “a [B]lack woman of larger build,” where he attacked the victim.
“When the victim opened the door, Rouf threw acid over her face, neck, and chest,” the statement read. “The victim, who had been in a relationship with Rouf up until March of this year, suffered life-changing injuries as a result of the attack.”
The name of the 24-year-old victim has not been released.
Witnesses on the scene told police that the suspect, described as a Black woman in a black jacket and a clear COVID visor, handed the victim a letter. In the note, the suspect named the property’s previous tenant and demanded money.
Rouf was arrested on Aug. 16 at his Cardiff, Wales home and charged with causing a dangerous/noxious thing to be taken/received with intent to burn/maim/disfigure/disable/do grievous bodily harm.
On Thursday, Rouf was sentenced to 11 years in prison plus four years on an extended license as a dangerous offender.
The victim prepared an emotional impact statement for the court, detailing the mental and physical toll she is facing since the crime was committed.
“Since the day I was subject to this horrific attack, my life has changed tremendously whereby I live in constant physical and psychological pain, fear of my future wellbeing, and socioeconomic hardship,” said the victim.
The assault caused blindness in the victim’s right eye and damage to her eyelids and the skin of her face, neck, chest, and arm. She is incapable of completely moving her neck or closing her eyes and has already undergone five “painful, life and appearance-altering” surgeries.
“I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that my life, for the foreseeable future, will involve more hospital appointments, procedures, and operations,” she continued.
The victim stated that though she once worked as a junior doctor and lived independently, she can no longer work or live her daily life as she once could.
“I have been robbed of years of my career and young adult life.”
Sussex Police were able to identify Rouf after surveillance video caught his movements after the attack, according to the release. Video included a neighbor’s doorbell camera that captured the suspect fleeing the scene and hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.
Surveillance video showed the suspect changing out of his disguise at the seafront of Brighton Pier and reemerging with a smaller build. He then disposed of the costume in a trash bin before buying new clothes at a nearby retailer, stopping at other trash bins along the way. Police say he returned to the seafront and asked a security guard how often the trash bins were emptied, claiming he dropped his phone in one of them. They retrieved the phone from a pair of jeans in the garbage.
“The evidence we were able to uncover in this case showed that Rouf spent considerable time planning this calculated attack,” said investigating officer Rose Horan, according to the release. “He changed his entire appearance in a convoluted attempt to get away with this cruel act. He wore padding under his clothing to appear as a large build female, made his skin to look darker, wore a wig, and even disguised his motive with the debt note he threw at his victim.”
When authorities arrested Rouf at his home, they discovered the clothes he’d purchased after changing out of his disguise, as well as a hand-written list titled “Costume 1,” itemizing clothes and accessories similar to ones worn for the attack, including a fat suit.
Rouf initially denied being the attacker, according to the videotaped police interrogation. He later admitted to the crime at his plea hearing at Lewes Crown Court.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the first responders, the detectives, and the healthcare staff involved since the moment I was attacked,” the victim concluded in her impact statement. “As well as my loved ones who have supported me and continued to show me love and care through this life-changing assault.”