Katie Piper acid attacker to be released from prison
The man who threw acid over television presenter Katie Piper is to be released from prison.
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, who is to star in the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, suffered horrific injuries in the acid attack that left her permanently scarred.
She 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 Sylvestre’s case was considered at an oral hearing, adding 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 said a forensic psychologist told the panel that there were factors which would protect Sylvestre from returning to offending and a criminal lifestyle, including his improved relationship with his family and his plans for the future.
“Mr Sylvestre displayed empathy for the victim and expressed remorse and shame for his actions,” the summary said.
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.
“That is why we are carrying out a full review of the Parole Board rules, which will build on the work we have already done to increase transparency and ensure victims are supported.”
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”.
Piper, a 34-year-old presenter and former model, is best known for sharing her story about surviving the attack in the documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face.