Police: No evidence of attack on Strictly dancer in Blackpool
Police have officially dropped an investigation into an alleged attack on a Strictly Come Dancing star after they found no evidence.
Dancer Gorka Marquez was reportedly the victim of an unprovoked attack in the town centre after performing live at the Tower Ballroom on Saturday November 19.
A national newspaper reported he had been ‘battered by thugs’ and left facing surgery to his teeth.
But the 26-year-old Spaniard refused to make a complaint to police.
Police have studied CCTV close to where it was claimed Mr Marquez had been attacked – but found nothing.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We have carried out a proportionate investigation which is now closed. No arrests have been made.
“We have never received a complaint from the victim and any injuries sustained would seem to be of a minor nature.
“We will always take reports of crime seriously and would urge anyone who has been a victim to come forward so they can assist us in our enquiries.”
Tourism and business leaders say the furore has unfairly tarnished the resort and called for an explanation about what exactly happened.
A national newspaper reported he had been ‘battered by thugs’ and was facing an operation to fix his damaged teeth.
The 26-year-old Spaniard refused to make a complaint to police and didn’t comment on the incident, other than to thank wellwishers for their support following his ‘experience’.
The Sun claimed a BBC spokesman told them he was attacked by a gang of youths while reportedly walking to a nightclub, Flamingo’s, with colleagues.
But then days later, a spokesman for Strictly said he was getting out of a car when a “random group of lads” ran past and assaulted him.
The spokesman said Mr Marquez, who was sent flowers by tourism chiefs in Blackpool following the incident, did not want to make a formal complaint and “just wants to move on”.
Police – who did not speak to Mr Marquez – found no evidence of any attack after an exhaustive review of CCTV both from the street and Flamingo’s.
Police, who The Gazette understands were frustrated in their attempts to speak to those allegedly involved in the incident, found nothing to support the portrayal of the event in the national press.
Mr Marquez was criticised on social media for failing to explain exactly what happened following the revelations and ignored requests from The Gazette to clarify the situation.
Meanwhile, tourism leaders said Blackpool was being unfairly trashed following the revelations, which were picked up by numerous broadcasters which repeated the allegations both in paper, TV and radio.
The Gazette was invited on to BBC Radio 5Live to talk about ‘how violent Blackpool is’ the following day.
Basil Newby, owner of Flamingo’s, said: “In previous years they have had an after-show party at the club. This year they phoned to say they weren’t, but there will be a few who come and would they be able to get in.
“A few of the crew came in, and I can only presume they sent Gorka a message asking if he wanted to join them, but he never turned up.
“As soon as I found out about [the alleged attack] from The Sun I knew I would have recognised him because I watch Strictly, and I thought it was weird.
“Then the manager came in and I asked we could look at the CCTV. We went through it and he definitely did not come in. There was no sign whatsoever.
“The police came and got the CCTV footage. They said to me they didn’t even know where it had happened.
“If you got beaten up the first thing you’d do is call the police.
“What’s maddening is it has tarnished us and it has knocked Blackpool.
“I don’t think it’s been good publicity for the town because it has been in all the national newspapers and it makes us look awful.
“That’s not the case.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We have carried out a proportionate investigation which is now closed. No arrests have been made. We have never received a complaint from the victim and any injuries sustained would seem to be of a minor nature. We will always take reports of crime seriously and would urge anyone who has been a victim to come forward so they can assist us in our enquiries.”
After the attack, Mr Marquez tweeted: “Thanks for all your kind messages and support about Blackpool.
“It was a bad experience but I’m feeling better and just want to look forward to the show on Saturday!”
Mr Marquez has appeared as part of group dances in Strictly since the Blackpool show. He and celebrity partner Tameka Empson were voted out of the show earlier in the series.