Upset ex-boyfriend who threw acid on former Miss Italy beauty queen Gessica Notaro gets sentence reduced on appeal
Gessica Notaro, who worked as a TV presenter and dolphin trainer, was covered in acid by Jorge Edson Tavares after months of him threatening to 'ruin' her life, post their break up
A man who doused his former girlfriend, a Miss Italy beauty queen, with acid has had his jail term reduced post appeal. The 29-year-old beauty queen, Gessica Notaro, had worked as a TV presenter and a dolphin trainer in the past. Sadly, she had a corrosive liquid thrown at her by her ex-partner, Jorge Edson Tavares, a 30-year-old bodyguard she had met at a dolphin aquarium that the two of them had worked in at the same time. After their relationship ended, he stalked and threatened her a few times for several months until he poured a bottle of acid all over her face after jumping her from behind a parked car.
Tavares, who is from Cape Verde, had been initially given a combined sentence of 18 years after he was convicted of the attack back in January last year.
A couple of days ago, the appeal court in Bologna combined the cases and decided that his sentence should be 15 years, five months and 20 days. The Italian media also reported that Gessica's lawyer did not want Tavares' original sentence of 18 years to not be reduced, however, he added that Gessica is seemingly happy with the outcome. Alberto Alessi, Gessica's lawyer told La Repubblica newspaper: "Gessica is satisfied from a human point of view and me from a judicial view."
Gessica, who was a finalist in the 2007 Miss Italy contest, had originally met Tavares about three years prior to the attack when they were working together at the dolphin aquarium in her hometown of Rimini.
She also insisted that despite the attack, Tavares was always the perfect boyfriend, and had shown his dark, stalkerish side only after the relationship ended. Around a month before the attack, he had threatened that he would scar her with the acid used in the aquarium to clean filters.
As Gessica's fears began to grow, she had told her workmates that she was considering getting a helmet for her car, just to stay safe from an attack. She had even given evidence to the police, where Tavares had threatened to 'ruin' her life, but they had simply asked him to stay away from her and gave him a harassment order.
Despite having moved in with another partner, Gessica still continued getting threats from Tavares, which had prompted her to stay single as she was scared both for her own and any prospective boyfriend's safety.
But the ghastly threat ultimately came true, as, on the night of January 10, 2017, Tavares crept up behind Gessica, ambushed her, and threw acid on her face when she returned home after a night socializing with friends.
At the time she said: "I think he was hidden behind other cars — he must have crawled on the floor and crept behind mine. As soon as I put my head out of the window I saw him come towards me from the back of the car and throwing the acid at me."
She added: "I actually felt the plastic of the bottle on my face. He lifted his arm to make sure he emptied the bottle completely and didn't leave one drop. My face was burning and I instantly started losing my sight. I felt desperate because I knew that the more time passed, the more the acid would corrode my face. I had to find the fastest way to get to hospital for help."
The attack caused her some life-changing injuries, and having undergone several operations to reconstruct her face, Gessica now wears a patch over her left eye - which has been left permanently damaged.
For several months, she had to stay back from returning to her job as a sea-lion trainer as she could not go in the water. But she has managed to stay vocal about violence against women, and has also appeared on the TV show 'Dancing With The Stars'. She told Corriere Della Sera: "Tavares was the greatest love of my life, despite the betrayals and difficulties in the relationship because of his attitude. When I started to look at things with clarity, I gained strength and decided to leave."