“She looked at me in the eyes and threw the vitriol. I started to melt,” 35-year-old Ioanna Paliospiroy told the court in Athens on Thursday. With incredible courage she described to judges, the members of the jury, and the woman who ruined her life 18 months ago, the horrifying moments after she felt the caustic liquid on her face and body.
“I first I did not understand what it was. I ran out [of the building] to get some help. I remembered there was a pharmacy next door and I ran there,”the victim said in her shocking testimony.
“I was bathed with this liquid [the vitriol], I felt it was all over me, the smell was penetrating,” she recalled.
“The pain was horrible, I could not see at all with one eye. I entered the pharmacy screaming, people did not understand what I was saying, they panicked. I told them “give me some water, I’m dying, help” I shouted. I went to the sink, I was pouring water on me. My hair was falling in the sink. I grabbed my face and realized that I was burning, melting. I shouted for help, people were scared. I understood that at that moment I was losing something… ”
When the people in the pharmacy called the ambulance, the victim was advised for of all to take her cloths off. “They told me to take off my clothes because they were melting on me. All I could think about was not to lose consciousness. Because I understood that only I could save myself. I shouted, “My God, help me because only you can.”
Bursting into tears, Ioanna added that the most difficult time of her life was at the hospital, especially at the beginning.
“I was in pain, I was screaming, falling asleep again, waking up again, they made incisions in my eye and ear. I was just trying to endure, not be be in pain. The next day I was informed that I would transferred to “Thriasio” [hospital]. I typically remember from my trasnfer, because I could not see, I could only hear, I remember the time when the stretcher passed through the corridors… A lady shouted “My God” and I understood that she said it about me [Ioanna burst in tears], I realized that the situation is not good. I realized I had serious burns and was just begging to survive.”
She said she was thinking that all this physical and psychical suffering was “just a dream” and was wishing to wake up from the nightmare.
It wasn’t. It was a bitter reality that had her undergo seven operations incl. skin transplants and plastic surgeries, a special protective mask she has to wear all though the day and night, a life with severe invalidity for a woman who was active and attractive. She has been recognized 90% physical inability and 50% psychological one.
On Thursday, for the first time since the attack, victim Ioanna came face to face with the attacker, 37-year-old Efi K.
So far, the attacker has shown no sign of remorse, hasn’t found a simple word of apology for what she did.
“Cold and emotionless, she sat in the court bench,” -as trial reporters said – and in a short statement Efi K said: “I know that what has been done is not acceptable, but you, Ioanna, you know why all this happened. In no case I wanted to take her life.”
The statement upset the audience; prompt was the reaction by the victim’s family who shouted at her “Bitch! Snake! Scum! You ruined us!” Ioanna’s brother was escorted out of the court room, until he calmed down.
Ioanna is convinced that the attacker with the vitriol wanted to kill her, when she lurked for her outside her work place in Kallithea suburb of Athens on that morning on May 20, 2020.
For Ioanna, the prevailing feeling since that day is fear, as she told the court. Fear that some people tried to kill her, fear about what would have happened if she was alone at home when the vitriol attack would have happened.
Efi’s lips remain sealed, so far. She faces sentence up to 15 years in prison.
On social media the wave of support to Ioanna continue non-stop.