Katie Piper on release of acid attacker: This is a really difficult time for me

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Katie Piper has told how she is going through a “really difficult time” after it emerged the man who threw acid over the TV presenter is to be released from prison.

Piper, 34, who has joined the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, suffered horrific injuries in the acid attack that left her permanently scarred.

In a statement posted on Twitter, she said that rehearsing for Strictly had been a “positive distraction”.

Piper wrote: “I felt it was important to put a message out to my friends, supporters and followers.

Strictly Come Dancing
Stefan Sylvestre has been granted parole (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“I am trying to come to terms with the decision and this is something I need to deal with.

“Over the past two weeks Strictly has already given me such a welcome and positive distraction from my past.

“Whilst there is never a good time to hear this news, I am glad I have this new journey to concentrate on. Thank you for your continued support. Love Katie.”

Stefan Sylvestre, now 30, from Shepherd’s Bush, west London, was given a life sentence in 2009 for the attack and was told he must serve a minimum of six years before he would be eligible for parole.

Piper was left fighting for her life after obsessive ex-boyfriend Daniel Lynch arranged for Sylvestre to throw the corrosive liquid in March 2008.

A spokeswoman for the Parole Board said: “We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board directed the release of Mr Stefan Sylvestre following an oral hearing.

“Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release.

“The panel will have carefully looked at a whole range of evidence, including details of the original evidence and any evidence of behaviour change. We do that with great care and public safety is our number one priority.”

The Parole Board’s decision summary said that Piper read statements in person to the panel.

“The panel took full account of the content of these statements and the supporting documentation,” the summary says.

The document adds: “The panel considered that there were a number of things that reduced Mr Sylvestre’s risk of causing serious harm in the future.

“Mr Sylvestre is now 30 years of age and was just 19 when he committed the index offence. He was drawn into a criminal lifestyle in his teens and was involved with drugs.

“During his time in custody, Mr Sylvestre has actively avoided anti-social behaviour within the prison and has avoided violence, despite being under threat.

“He has behaved well to distance himself from such influences. He has repaired his relationship with his family, has gained employment-related skills and improved his education.

“He has not been involved in drugs in prison and has completed relevant offence-focused work to challenge and change his attitude and thinking.”

The summary added: “Mr Sylvestre displayed empathy for the victim and expressed remorse and shame for his actions.”

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Our heartfelt sympathies are with Katie Piper for the ordeal she has suffered. Acid attacks are abhorrent and those convicted can face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

“The release of indeterminate sentenced prisoners is a matter for the independent Parole Board, which carries out a full risk assessment before making a decision.

“Public protection is our priority and while we understand public concern, it is vital that we respect the independence of the Parole Board.

Acid attacker jailed
Daniel Lynch arranged the attack (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The Parole Board summary said Sylvestre became eligible to be considered for release on April 8, 2014 and had a previous review by the Parole Board in 2015.

Lynch was jailed for life with a minimum of 16 years for sexually assaulting Piper and telling Sylvestre to throw acid over her.

The pair had dated briefly before steroid-fuelled martial arts fan Lynch, who had a previous conviction for pouring boiling water over a man, became obsessively jealous.

In court, Lynch and Sylvestre were told by Judge Nicholas Browne QC they were “the face of pure evil”.

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