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  • Katie Piper, a former model who was burnt by acid in an attack arranged by her ex-boyfriend, had her face removed and rebuilt in a single operation, which was the first of its kind?

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Katie Piper
Born 25 August 1983 (1983-08-25) (age 26)
Andover, Hampshire, England, UK
Nationality English
Occupation Former model and television presenter

Katie Piper (born August 25, 1983) is a former model and television presenter from Andover, Hampshire in England. Piper had hoped to have a full-time career in the media, but in March 2008 in North London, sulphuric acid was thrown at her face by Stefan Sylvestre. The acid attack, which blinded Piper in one eye, was arranged by Piper's ex-boyfriend, Daniel Lynch. Both Sylvestre and Lynch were arrested and are serving jail time for their crimes.

Piper was treated in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where the surgeons removed all the skin from her face, before rebuilding it with a skin substitute and then a skin graft. The procedure was the first of its kind to be completed in a single operation.

In 2009, Piper chose to give up her anonymity to try and increase awareness about burn victims. The Channel 4 documentary, Katie: My Beautiful Face, was aired on October 29, 2009 and repeated on Christmas Day 2009.



Katie Piper was born in Andover, Hampshire, and attended Harrow Way School as a child.[1][2][3] She later worked as a model and TV presenter, including modelling for national newspapers.[4]

Following the acid attack, Katie Piper moved out of her London flat to live with her parents and younger sister Susy.[5] Her mother, Diane Piper, who was a classroom assistant in a primary school, gave up her job so she could look after her daughter following the attack.[6] Her father, David Piper, is a businessman.[6]

Acid attack

Daniel Lynch, a martial arts enthusiast who had been tracking Piper's career, met her through the online social site Facebook.[7] Unknown to her, Lynch had previously been jailed for throwing boiling water into a man's face.[6] The two first saw each other in Reading, Berkshire, where Piper had been working,[6] and initially Piper was pleased with the relationship.[5][6]

Two weeks into their relationship, the couple booked into a hotel in Bayswater, following a meal out.[5][6] In the hotel room, Lynch raped and beat Piper, and threatened to cut her with a razor and hang her.[5] After eight hours at the hotel,[5] they drove back to Golders Green, where Piper had a flat.[6] Piper was treated for her wounds at Royal Free Hospital, but withheld the nature of the incident from the doctors and police, because she was afraid of Lynch.[5][6]

Piper received numerous phone calls and apologies from Lynch. Two days after the attack, Lynch persuaded Piper to go to an internet cafe to read an email he had sent to her Facebook account.[5][6] Lynch gave her details to Stefan Sylvestre, who identified her on Golders Green Road.[6][7] Sylvestre approached Piper, who thought he was going to ask for money,[5][6] and then threw sulphuric acid at her face.[3][8] The attack was caught on CCTV,[6] and both Lynch and Sylvestre were later arrested.[9] Both Lynch and Sylvestre were sentenced to life imprisonment, Sylvestre with a minimum of 12 years, and Lynch with a minimum of 16 years.[5]

Medical treatment

Following the attack, Piper ran into a local café, where an ambulance was called for.[5] Crews had to wait an hour before being able to treat Piper, because of the risk presented by the acid, which was still unidentified at that point, and Sylvestre, who could still have been nearby.[6] Piper was treated in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, where her pioneering and revolutionary treatment was led by Doctor Mohammad Ali Jawad.[5][7] The acid, some of which Piper had swallowed, blinded her in her left eye, and caused third-degree burns.[3][6][9] The surgeons completely removed the skin of Piper's face, and replaced it with a skin substitute, Matriderm, to build the foundations for a skin graft.[6][9] This procedure was the first of its kind to be done in a single operation.[3][6] Piper was put into an induced coma for 12 days, during which her weight dropped to 38 kg.[6] She went through a total of 34 surgeries to treat her injuries,[1][3] and wears a plastic face mask for 23 hours a day,[4] which flattens the scar, and helps retain moisture.[9] As part of her care from the National Health Service, Piper was treated at a clinic in southern France.[5][6] The treatment she received there was designed to break down scar tissue, and prevent skin contraction.[5]


Although Piper had the right to remain anonymous because of the sexual assault, she chose to waive her anonymity, in an attempt to increase public awareness of the situation for burn victims, and also the treatment they go through.[3][7][10] Piper also took part in a documentary about her experience, Katie: My Beautiful Face, which was aired by Channel 4 on 29 October 2009,[6][7] and, according to figures from Attentional, gained over 3.3 million viewers.[11] She has also appeared on the American news magazine and television series 20/20. In fact, she was the ultimate subject for one episode that covered her acid attack and boyfriend's conviction. The episode originally aired on the American Broadcasting Company's main network on 8 January 2010.


Alternative Christmas Message 2009

On 25 December 2009, Katie Piper read out the 'Alternative Christmas Message 2009' on Channel 4, produced by Mentorn Media.[12][13] The message was about Piper's own experiences, family, and not judging people by their appearance.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Support For Katie". Andover Sound. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Katie relives acid attack horror". Andover Advertiser. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "New face of brave Katie". The Sun. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  4. ^ a b "My Beautiful Face". BBC. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Katie: My Beautiful Face. Channel 4. 29 October 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "I was savagely disfigured by my deranged boyfriend: Acid attack victim bravely shows her face". Daily Mail. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Model's Struggle After Brutal Acid Attack". Sky News. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  8. ^ "Acid attack model talks about recovery". Telegraph. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Acid attack model Katie Piper reveals she wanted to die after burns wrecked her face". Mirror News. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  10. ^ "Katie: My Beautiful Face Interview". Channel 4. 20 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  11. ^ "Katie's face brings 3.3m to C4". Broadcast Now. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-30. 
  12. ^ a b Alternative Christmas Message. Channel 4. 3pm–. 5 minutes in.
  13. ^ "Acid attack victim Katie Piper to give Channel 4's alternative Christmas message". Telegraph. 12 December 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 

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