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Defendant in acid attack trial admits to being ‘consumed by envy’

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A 37-year-old woman who has admitted to throwing acid into the face of another woman in the Athens suburb of Kallithea in May 2020 told a court on Thursday that she was “consumed by envy” and had stalked her victim for months leading up to the attack.

“I knew it was bad the one day and then I’d change my mind the other. I became obsessed. There’s no other way to explain it,” Efi Kakarantzoula said during a tense session at the Athens Court of First Instance.

Kakarantzoula claimed that she began stalking Ioanna Paliospyrou, now 35, after suspecting her of dating a man with whom Kakarantzoula had embarked on a sexual relationship in 2018.

“I tried to get out of it because it was preventing me from getting on with my life,” Kakarantzoula said of the relationship with the man whom she identified only as “Nontas.”

“I later started watching them. I watched her to see whether she was with him, not to attack her,” the defendant said of the buildup to the attack, which has left Paliospyrou with debilitating internal injuries, massive scarring to her face and body, and acute emotional trauma. 

The idea of assaulting Paliospyrou with acid came after she saw a news report on a similar attack, the defendant said. “From what I heard it was not presented as a murder weapon, but as a means of revenge. I never thought she could swallow it. I am not a killer,” Kakarantzoula said.

Her lawyer had earlier asked the court to reduce the charges against his client from attempted murder to committing grievous bodily harm, arguing the lack of intent.

Kakarantzoula, however, admitted to going to significant lengths to procure the sulfuric acid she threw at Paliospyrou outside the victims’ place of work in an office building in Kallithea, saying she paid a man she met outside a shop in downtown Athens to get it for her.

She also said that she had watched Paliospyrou’s movements closely for several days before deciding how she was going to carry out the attack and admitted to switching taxis after jumping into a cab as she fled the scene of the crime.