The tour rep doused in acid on the orders of her jealous ex has broken her silence about the ordeal which left her skin “dripping to the floor”.
Ellie Chessell, 29, has told how she thought she was about to die as she stood screaming in the street, with her body burning “like a bonfire”.
Her ex-lover Claudio Gouveia, 35, was jailed last month for 12 years for her attempted murder in 2017.
Accomplice Edmundo Fonseca, 44, was jailed for nine years last Friday.
He was paid just a few grammes of cocaine to throw acid over Ellie near the hotel she worked in on the Algarve in Portugal.
He lured her out of the hotel after arranging a dinner date over Tinder and posing as a businessman.
Ellie had no idea it was a fake date set up by her deranged ex. They had split up two months earlier.
He still had her laptop and old phone and had hacked into them to access all her emails and social media accounts to trace her every step.
She said: “I saw this man dressed in black and I thought, ‘Bloody hell, he’s odd’.
“He was sat down on a bench and his leg was shaking up and down.
“The next second I hear ‘desculpe!’ [Portuguese for sorry] and he threw liquid all over me.
“In a split second I realised it was acid and I knew straight away it was him [Gouveia].
“I started screaming and told my friend to help, telling her: ‘It’s acid. He’s set me up!’
“I felt like I was on fire. The burning was unbearable.
“I whipped off my blazer because I could see my dress was melting, it was sticking to me so I threw it to the floor.
“And then I just started spitting because I could taste it. I could just see my skin dripping to the floor, dripping on to the pavement.”
She believes Gouveia drove by slowly after the attack – “real blasé” – but did not stop.
Ellie was finally helped by a taxi driver with a female British passenger.
“The woman wound down her window and was speaking to me trying to calm me down as the driver rang the police and ambulance.
“The driver’s window was only open slightly and he said he could feel the heat coming off me on his face.
“He said it was like ‘a full-blown bonfire’.”
Two police officers who attended were sick nearby after inhaling the fumes and later taken to hospital.
The pavement where Ellie was struck was bleached white and even a hedge where he flung the bottle burned.
“I’ve never felt pain like it. I thought I was going to die. It was unbearable. I could taste it on my tongue and that was worrying me,” she said.
Ellie ended up in the intensive care burns unit in Lisbon in a glass room to protect her from infection.
She had second and third degree burns to her face, chest, both arms, stomach and legs.
The next morning she was given a mobile in a sealed plastic bag to phone her mum in the Isle of Wight.
“I said ‘Mum, now don’t worry because I’m all right. But that b***ard’s got me!’”
Her mum Diana Newman, 60, who flew out to be by Ellie’s side, said: “I wasn’t able to hug her or kiss her or even touch her. It was heartbreaking.
“She was covered in bandages like a mummy. We touched hands through the glass and we were both crying.”
It was the start of a month’s intensive treatment in hospital for Ellie who was too scared to look under her bandages.
“It was yucky, my skin was still being eaten and they put my arms in a bleach solution,” Ellie recalled.
Ellie finally broke down when they shaved her head to get a skin graft.
“I was in tears and the nurse was in tears, it is what finally broke me. He’d finally taken away my identity.”
Gouveia had been trying to break her for much of their relationship.
They met a week after Ellie started as a tour rep on his home island of Madeira in 2015.
Within months she was banned from going out alone or contacting her parents in the UK.
He started messaging her up to 100 times a day. “I started feeling a bit panicky if I didn’t reply. I felt I was on my knees apologising for everything.”
The first time he turned violent was after they visited his relatives and he stormed off after drinking for hours.
“When he got home he was spitting and effing and jeffing. It was like he was a monster, smashing things, screaming and spitting, it was grim.
“He pinned me up against the bathroom wall around the throat. I had a full-on hand print across my neck.”
A month later, Gouveia erupted in violence again, splitting her head open after a night out. Ellie had three stitches in hospital.
The police were called but said it was her word against his. She never saw him again and relocated to mainland Portugal.
But what Ellie did not know was he had kept her laptop and knew all her passwords and tracked her movements for the next two months.
Ellie, now back home with her mum in the Isle of Wight, told how her terror continued in hospital.
“When I opened the message in hospital I felt sick,” said Ellie, who is in counselling for post-traumatic stress.
“I thought to myself, ‘He’s not going to stop’. He’s a little terrorist.”
Fellow acid attack victim Katie Piper helped her get counselling and laser treatment after the tour rep’s brother, Ryan Chessell got in touch.
Ellie said: “I had been struggling to get help from the NHS. When Katie got involved things started moving.”
Now the long journey to get back to normal begins.
Ellie said: “I’d love to work as a tour rep but at the moment I lack concentration. I sleep too much, I eat too much…but I want to go back and do something I enjoy.”
Evil ex sent naked pic to Ellie’s teen brother
Deranged ex Claudio Gouveia sent hundreds of menacing messages and naked photos of Ellie to relatives – including her little brother and his teenage friends.
He spent two months spying on Ellie after they’d split by hacking into her social media accounts.
Just 24 hours after the acid attack, he sneered: “I am looking forward to our next encounter…”
Ellie said about the message: “I felt sick, but we all decided as a family not to respond.
“He had dozens of different email addresses and sent hundreds of emails to me. He sent Instagrams. He created fake accounts on Facebook.”
He told her: “All my love for you has been turned to hatred and I will find you because I know where you went.
Another said: “The last thing I will do in life will be to destroy you like you have done to me.”
A month before the attack, he wrote he would “burn that face with all the strength that I have.
“I hope you die horribly… your sh*tty brain be run over by a train and have an agonising death… burn in hell…”
Ellie said her 16-year-old brother and his pals, some aged 15, got naked pictures of her.
Then he messaged Ellie saying: “I love you forever even with no arms or legs. Your silence is what makes me even more hateful.”