A star of Strictly Come Dancing has been beaten up in a nightclub attack.
AJ Pritchard, 24, and brother Curtis, 23, had been socialising and posing for selfies with fans. But they were then set upon by eight yobs, who started to circle them.
The attackers began to throw punches at the pair ‘like they were possessed’.
‘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 dragged Curtis out of the circle and pulled him to another part of the club.’ The witness said that AJ was left carrying the marks on his face from the rings the thugs wore as they struck him. Curtis is said to have appeared to have passed out in the attack.
Bouncers later brawled with the group in a scene reminiscent of a ‘Wild West film’.
AJ was recovering at home after receiving severe bruises and cuts after the attack in the club in Nantwich, Cheshire.Police said four people were taken to hospital for treatment but had all since been discharged.
A spokesman said: ‘Officers arrested a 20-year-old man from Crewe on suspicion of assault. He has been released under investigation pending further inquiries.’
AJ, whose real name is Alex Joseph, won plaudits for his partnership with paralympian Lauren Steadman, 25, in this year’s BBC series of Strictly.
Steadman, who was born missing the lower part of her right arm, said AJ was accommodating and encouraging. She said he ‘made me face a fear and be really, really proud of myself and my body.’ She told The Sun: ‘I have been self-conscious my whole life with my arm. We’ll do moves and he’ll be like ‘No, you can be sexy’, and he’s helped me fall in love with myself for the first time.’
The duo made it to the semi-finals but were eliminated, losing to this year’s champion Stacey Dooley.
AJ competed on Britain’s Got Talent with long-time dance partner Chloe Hewitt in 2013.
His brother appears in the Irish version of Strictly.