Curtis Pritchard took the blows for his brother AJ when a group of thugs attacked them
Curtis was knocked unconscious and suffered a suspected broken nose, blurred vision, a split lip and knee injury that threatened to derail his dance career, all with the admirable aim of saving his brother's.
“Curtis risked his own dancing career to save mine as he threw himself in front of the attackers so they couldn’t get to me. He was thinking of both my dancing career with my legs and my TV career with my face. “He tried to protect me and in doing so saved my life and my legs from danger," AJ told The Sun at the time.
The brothers were staying back at home in Stoke-On-Trent before the attack, and thought Nakatcha would be 'safe' given how many times they'd been there before.
The brothers were partying at Nakatcha nightclub in Nantwich
But AJ caught the eye of a few ladies – which they believe was a catalyst for the brutal beating.
Describing how Curtis suddenly felt a 'hard, violent push', he bravely pushed his brother out of the way and stepped into his place.
“I looked up to see what was happening and I saw four lads go to grab AJ and I thought, ‘I’ve got to get in between them and him to protect him,'" Curtis said.
But with his hands busy protecting AJ, his face was left uncovered as the blows rained down.
Describing it as 'like a scene from a movie', Curtis blacked out and collapsed on the floor, where the the thugs continued to kick him.
AJ credited his brother with 'saving his life'
(Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)
One clubber who witnessed the incident said: “The eight lads took a disliking to the brothers and pushed Curtis hard. Then they started punching them, like they were possessed.
“Curtis had fallen to his knees and was being punched in the face and body. They were also punching AJ in his face, in his ribs and legs. It was like a scene from a wild west film with the bouncers fighting this group.”
Security staff swooped in, giving AJ chance to pull his unconscious brother to safety. And it was only then that he realised the horrifying extent of his sibling's injuries.
“His shins were severely hit, his nose, lips and face were bloody. He looked a mess. His eye was closed up and his whole face looked swollen. My T-shirt was covered in his blood. I was terrified," AJ said.
The club was immediately closed and the brothers were taken to hospital, where Curtis underwent emergency surgery to save his knee.
AJ said Curtis selflessly put his own career on the line to protect his
A 21 year old man was arrested and charged with assault but in October 2019, the case was 'discontinued' due to insufficient evidence.
The news came as a bitter blow to AJ, who a friend said was still suffering from 'flashbacks'
And in the days after the attack, pals told the Sunday Mirror he was too afraid to go out.
“AJ is beside himself with worry and anxiety. He is so traumatised by what happened he doesn’t want to leave the house," the source said.
“He has told friends he doesn’t understand why this has happened to him. He has never been targeted before and this has come out of the blue.”
AJ opened up about the impact on his mental health in January 2019, admitting he was still fearful of crowds and nightclubs.
“I definitely won't be putting myself in any nightclub scenarios any time soon," he told LBC.
"There are going to be different people [on tour], maybe fans or not fans, it's going to make me feel not anxious but slightly on edge.
"It makes me nervous to put myself in that situation in the near future because it's a very scary scenario."
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