Quebec acid attack victim has mobility of 'an infant'

09/12/2012 07:11 EDT | Updated 11/12/2012 05:12 EST
The Montreal-area woman who was disfigured in a brutal acid attack last month has several more skin grafts to undergo and only then will move to a rehab hospital.

Tanya St-Arnauld, 29, of Longueuil, is still unable to move much and is "like an infant," requiring help with nearly everything to overcome her ongoing incapacitation, her mother said Wednesday.

"But she's going to pull through. It'll be OK," a teary Linda St-Arnauld said at the Longueuil courthouse. "It's just one step at a time."

Her daughter suffered burns to a fifth of her body when a corrosive fluid, possibly a drain or concrete cleaning agent, was thrown on her during a domestic dispute on Aug. 26. She was in a medically induced coma for four days. (Police initially said she had burns to 70 per cent of her body).

Her boyfriend, 27-year-old Nikolas Stefanatos of Brossard, Que., has been charged with three counts of assault, including aggravated assault. He appeared in court Wednesday but had his bail hearing postponed for another two weeks. St-Arnauld mother's said her daughter was anxious about the day's proceedings.

"She called me just before noon and asked me to tell her how it went. She's afraid he'll get out. She's always afraid that he'll get out," Linda St-Arnauld said. "I don't know why she's thinking that, but it's her reaction. I tried to reassure her and told her he's not getting out today. She was happy with that, it calmed her."

Stefanatos and St-Arnauld were known to have a volatile relationship. Her brother, Maxime Gosselin, said that a week before the acid attack, the couple had a major fight in which St-Arnauld was doused with orange juice.

Stefanatos's lawyer, Mélanie Grégoire, told reporters at the courthouse that her client is keenly following updates about St-Arnauld's condition.

"My client has a lot of empathy for the victim," Grégoire said.