Sunday 17 February 2019

'He wouldn't hurt a soul' - Norah Casey reacts to club attack on RTÉ dancer

Dancer Curtis to miss start of new series after nightclub assault

Norah Casey and Curtis Pritchard on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Punched: Dancer Curtis Pritchard is facing surgery
Thalia Heffernan & Curtis Pritchard in 2017
Thalia together with dance partner Curtis Pritchard wow the audience on 'Dancing with the Stars'. She admits that she found practising the sensual rumba 'mortifying' when her boyfriend was watching
Norah Casey and Curtis Pritchard on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

RTE yesterday confirmed that professional dancer Curtis Pritchard will miss the start of Dancing with the Stars in January after he was seriously assaulted on St Stephen's night.

The 23-year-old dancer, who partnered Norah Casey in the last series, was with his brother AJ (24) when they were set upon by thugs in a nightclub in northern England. AJ is also a professional dancer who features on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

Their family issued a statement yesterday confirming that Curtis received a serious knee injury, saying: "AJ and Curtis were assaulted whilst on a night out with two friends on December 27 in an unprovoked attack in Nantwich, Cheshire.

"Curtis is due to undergo an emergency operation in the next few days to correct the damages he has sustained to his knee, he is also recovering from injuries to his eye and face.

Punched: Dancer Curtis Pritchard is facing surgery
Punched: Dancer Curtis Pritchard is facing surgery

"AJ received bruising to his face, arms, body and legs.

"Statements have been given to Cheshire Police and they are currently conducting an investigation."

Police in Cheshire also released a statement: "Shortly after 2am on Thursday, December 27 officers were called to reports of an incident at a nightclub on Welsh Row, Nantwich.

"Officers attended the scene and found that four men, three aged 22 and one aged 24, had been assaulted.

"The victims sustained a number of injuries as a result of the incident and were taken to Leighton Hospital for treatment. All of the men have since been discharged.

"Enquiries in relation to the incident are ongoing and officers have arrested a 20-year-old man from Crewe on suspicion of assault; he has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries."

Thalia Heffernan dancing with Curtis Pritchard during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Picture: KOBPIX
Thalia Heffernan dancing with Curtis Pritchard during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Picture: KOBPIX
Norah Casey and Curtis Pritchard on RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Picture: Kyran O'Brien

Yesterday Norah Casey joined a number of celebrities who wished the brothers a speedy recovery.

"I am so sorry to hear this terrible news about Curtis and AJ. Curtis is such a kind and gentle person. He wouldn't hurt a soul. They are in our thoughts and, hopefully, will make a quick recovery."

UK reports said the two brothers had been socialising and posing for photographs with fans. But they were then set upon by eight men, who started to circle them.

"Curtis had fallen to his knees and was being punched in the face and body," a witness said. "They were also punching AJ in his face, in his ribs and legs."

AJ (Alex Joseph) partnered British paralympian Lauren Steadman, on this year's BBC series of Strictly Come Dancing. On RTE's Dancing With the Stars, Curtis danced with Norah Casey but they were the first couple eliminated from the second series of the hugely popular show.

Yesterday RTE issued a statement confirming Curtis would miss the start of the new series.

"Dancing with the Stars pro-dancer Curtis Pritchard was involved in an incident on December 27, 2018.

"As a result of the injuries sustained, he will not have recovered in time for the launch of the new series, which will air January 6, 2019. Dancing with the Stars wish Curtis a speedy recovery.

"A replacement for Curtis on the show is currently being arranged by [producers] Shinawil and we look forward to welcoming Curtis back when he recovers," the RTE statement added.

Sunday Independent

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