The man who threw acid at TV presenter Katie Piper is set to be released from prison after serving nine years of a life sentence, following an oral hearing by the Parole Board.
Stefan Sylvestre, now 30 years old, was imprisoned in 2009 aged 19 after attacking Piper on behalf of her ex-boyfriend Daniel Lynch the previous year, leaving her permanently scarred.
According to the Parole Board’s summary of the oral hearing, Piper read statements in person to the panel, and “the panel took full account of the content of these statements and the supporting documentation”.
But the board ultimately found that a “number of things reduced Mr Sylvestre’s risk of causing serious harm in the future,” citing his age at the time of the offence, his avoidance of anti-social behaviour during his incarceration, his improved relationship with his family and his showing of empathy for his victim and remorse for his actions.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice told Sky News that it would be carrying out a full review of Parole Board rules in order to increase transparency, and that it’s “heartfelt sympathies” were with Piper, who is currently preparing to star in the new season of Strictly Come Dancing. However, they added that “it is vital that we respect the independence of the parole board.”
Lynch himself must serve a minimum of 16 years of his life sentence – handed down in 2009 for raping Piper and telling Sylvestre to throw acid at her – before becoming eligible for parole.
Piper was left blind in one eye following the attack and has undergone more than 40 surgeries to treat her facial and other injuries.
She told her story in a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary, Katie: My Beautiful Face, which was nominated or a Bafta.
A follow-up series, Katie: My Beautiful Friends, saw Piper meet others who had been disfigured or disabled by injuries, illness or surgery as she set up charity The Katie Piper Foundation, whose mission statement is “a world where scars do not limit a person’s function, social inclusion or sense of well being”.