EXCLUSIVE: Suspected ‘hit man’ who ‘threw acid in Thomson holiday rep’s face in Portugal on the orders of her ex-boyfriend’ is found jailed in Uganda on drugs charges

  • Ellie Chessell had acid poured on her on May 6 near an Alvor hotel she worked at
  • Her former boyfriend Claudio Gouveia, was detained on the island of Madeira 
  • Detectives suspect she was attacked by a ‘hit man’ on the orders of Gouveira, 34
  • Portuguese police issued an arrest warrant for Edmundo Helder Rodriques Fonesca 
  • Fonesca, 44, has been tracked to a jail in Uganda where he faces drugs charges
  • He now faces extradition to Portugal along with Gouveira who is still on Madeira 
Victim: Ellie Chessell, a Thomson holiday rep, had acid thrown in to her face in an horrific attack in Portugal in May. Her former boyfriend Claudio Gouveia is in custody over the attack

A suspected ‘hit man’ who allegedly threw acid in the face of a British Thomson holiday rep in Portugal has been tracked down to a prison cell in Uganda.

Edmundo Helder Rodriques Fonesca is accused of the horrific attack on pretty tour rep Ellie Chessell, 29, on the orders of her former boyfriend.

Ellie, from her hospital bed, told police about her abusive ex Claudio Gouveia, 34, who has been arrested and faces extradition from island of Madeira to Portugal.

Fonseca, 44, was already in jail on drug smuggling charges when a sharp eyed British Interpol agent noticed his name on a database and made the connection.

He tipped off the Portuguese authorities and they are now seeking the extradition of Fonesca from the East African country.

Detectives say he was hired by Gouveia to carry out the horrific attack last May.

Ellie, from Newport, Isle of Wight, in Hampshire, was lured to a quiet road in the resort of Alvor near Portimao when she was ambushed and had acid thrown in her face. She suffered serious injuries on her face and body.

Despite being hundreds of miles away when the late night assault was carried out detectives were convinced Gouveia had arranged the attack in revenge for Ellie ending their relationship.

She told police she had left Madeira and moved to the Algarve to get away from him.

Suspect: Edmundo Helder Rodriques Fonesca, 44, is accused of being the ‘hit man’ behind the attack on pretty tour rep Ellie on the orders of her former boyfriend. Fonesca has been tracked down to a jail in Uganda on drugs charges

It has not been revealed who supplied them with the name of Fonesca but Portuguese police issued an arrest warrant for him and his photo circulated on an Interpol bulletin alert.

In June a British Interpol agent working in the Ugandan capital Kampala checked the database and saw that the wanted man was already in jail on drugs charges.

Details of the link to the acid attack have just been released by the Portuguese authorities who are liasing with Ugandan police and Interpol to confirm they have the right man.

Once his identity has been established the Portuguese authorities will seek his extradition to stand trial alongside Gouveia.

A source close to the investigation said: ‘The suspected acid attacker had already been identified by police but his whereabouts remained a mystery until relatively recently.

‘A man with his name and date of birth was arrested in Uganda in June with six kilos of heroin.

‘A UK Interpol liaison officer there checked European databases and discovered a European Arrest Warrant was out for him.

Implicated: Ellie, from her hospital bed, told police about her abusive ex Claudio Gouveia, 34, (pictured) who has been arrested and faces extradition from island of Madeira to Portugal

‘Portuguese authorities have already sent photos of him along with fingerprints to confirm it is the same person and rule out the remote possibility another person is using his identity.

‘They will request his extradition once his identify is confirmed, either with the help of the police in Uganda or Interpol or both.

‘We believe this man is a drifter who has been paid to carry out this sickening attack on Ellie.’

The circumstances surrounding Fonesca’s arrest have not been made clear but Uganda is seen by drugs enforcement agents as a staging post for the supply of heroin to Europe. His arrest will come as a huge relief to Chessell and her family.

The Thomson tour rep has never spoken of the attack having been left traumatized by her injuries with burns to 50 per cent of her body.

She was first treated at a local hospital before being flown to a specialist burns unit in Lisbon.

Police said she had up to two litres of acid thrown in her face after a man stepped out the shadows around midnight as she went to a pre-arranged meeting.

‘The arrested man had a relationship with his victim and after they broke-up, tried to seek revenge.

‘Executing a previously prepared plan, he obtained the help of a third person, who on the night of May 6 in the area of Alvor near Portimao, attacked the woman with acid, causing her burns and serious injuries on several parts of the body.’

They also said the suspect had an existing criminal record. Gouveia is still being held in custody in Madeira but will be transferred to Portugal to stand trial. Both men are likely to face attempted murder and assault charges.

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