A British reality-TV starlet has appealed for her boyfriend to surrender to police after he was named in connection with a shocking acid attack at an East London nightclub.
Ferne McCann, 26, a star of the British reality-TV show The Only Way Is Essex, issued a statement through her publicist urging her boyfriend, Arthur Collins, 25, “to co-operate fully with the police and attend a police station immediately” after a corrosive liquid—thought to be acid or drain cleaner—was thrown at clubbers inside the venue early Monday morning.
When police hunting for Collins executed a search warrant at his home, they reportedly discovered illegal firearms and a cannabis farm. Collins was not there, but his parents were reportedly arrested.
Just days earlier, McCann and Collins had appeared on the front page of a British tabloid magazine saying they were planning to move in together and get engaged.
The show, often abbreviated to TOWIE, is no stranger to scandal, with multiple allegations of crime and drug-taking surfacing in the program, which has been on air since 2010, and follows the lives of a circle of friends from the affluent county of Essex, near London.
A source told The Sun that the alarming incident happened after a confrontation broke out when a knife was pulled at the Mangle club in Dalston, at 1 a.m. Monday.
Witnesses told how victims were hit by liquid they thought was water at first before it started burning their flesh.
Australian model Isobella Fraser, 22, was burnt down her arm and back when the liquid seared through her dress and left her unable to breathe, according to reports.
Her sister, Prue, 20, was also scalded by the noxious substance.
Two clubbers, aged 24 and 29, were seriously hurt in the attack and have been moved to a special hospital for burns in Essex, where they are in a stable condition, the Metropolitan Police said.
Ten patients were taken to hospital, while two others with similar injuries sought treatment, emergency services said.
The police said in a statement: “Officers believe a dispute between two groups of people developed inside the venue, resulting in a noxious substance being sprayed by a male suspect directly at Victims 1 and 2. Other people inside the venue suffered the effects of the substance. The substance is yet to be identified, but it is believed to have been acidic.”
Detective Inspector Lee McCullough from Hackney CID, who is leading the investigation, said, “We now have 20 people suffering from the effects of an acidic substance being sprayed in a confined space in a busy nightclub. All have burn-related injuries. The noxious substance used has not yet been confirmed but samples retrieved from the scene have been sent for analysis. If you were there and saw anyone involved inside or leaving the nightclub, please get in touch.”
A spokeswoman for McCann said: “Ferne is aware that the police wish to speak to Arthur Collins and the nature of the accusations against him.
“Obviously these are highly shocking and Ferne has co-operated with the police in their inquiries.
“She was not with Arthur on Sunday night, was not at Mangle, and has no direct knowledge of the events that unfolded.
“As much as anybody, she wants to know the truth and urges Arthur to co-operate fully with the police and attend a police station immediately.”
The pair had appeared on the front cover of this week’s OK! magazine discussing plans for their future life together.
However McCann has now deleted images of her and Collins together from her Instagram page.
One victim whose foot was burned by the acid said she initially did not realize the severity of her injury.
The 25-year-old, who asked not to be named, told the London Evening Standard: “It was very, very packed in there. All of a sudden down at the back bit of the bar everybody started moving out of the way, I thought there had been a fight.
“Everyone was like ‘Go, go, go’ and ‘Let’s move, let’s move.’
“Then they started getting everyone out. At the time I didn’t realize I had been attacked, I thought someone had dropped a cigarette on my foot but it was getting more red and stinging.
“It’s just like a red circle round my toes, around the size of a 50p piece, it is more sore than if you burnt yourself, it is really stinging.
“It is scary because you just go out to have a good night and you realize how close it could have been to being a lot worse.”