The 52-year-old man, who is a respected researcher at the Karolinska Institute north of Stockholm, also sliced his wife’s arms in the attack.
According to prosecutors, the man was upset with his wife for requesting a divorce and flew into a jealous rage.
“He did it so that she would never be able to kiss again and said ‘I’ll get four years, but you’re getting a life sentence’,” prosecutor Jakob Holmberg told the TT news agency.
The incident took place in May in the couple’s home south of Stockholm and has been deeded especially heinous because the injuries sustained by the woman are permanent and the man acted in a way meant to cause extreme suffering.
According to Aftonbladet, the 52-year-old waited until his wife was asleep before brandishing a scalpel and cutting off nearly her entire lower lip.
He then proceeded to eat the piece of flesh he’d removed from his wife’s face.
Prosecutors had first classified the attack as attempted murder, but after the man admitted to the attack during police questioning it became clear that he never intended to kill his wife.
“He helped her call police and remained there until help arrived,” Holmberg told Aftonbladet.
Following the attack, the woman has been living in secret location. Plastic surgeons have tried to rebuild her missing lower lip, but have nevertheless ruled the injury to be permanent.
If convicted, the man faces a minimum sentence of four years in prison, but could be jailed for as long as ten years.
Prosecutor Holmberg plans to argue that the 52-year-old be sentenced to jail time toward the upper-half of the penalty scale.