Acid attack victim Katie Gee says ‘thank you’ for support

Acid attack victim Katie Gee says ‘thank you’ for support

One of the teenagers attacked with acid in Zanzibar has thanked supporters for their good wishes, as the pair continue to recover in hospital.

Aftermath: The girls after the attack in Zanzibar on Wednesday night.
Aftermath: The girls after the attack in Zanzibar on Wednesday night.

FZY member Katie Gee,  from East Finchley, took to Twitter to say: “Thank you for all your support x”.

The student sent the message from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London where she and her friend Kirstie Trup, both 18, were receiving treatment for their burns inflicted in an unprovoked attack while they were on a volunteering holiday.

The pair arrived back in the country yesterday and were transferred to the capital’s regional burns centre.

Their medic, Andy Williams, consultant burns and plastic surgeon said: “We can confirm that Katie and Kirstie have been transferred to our care at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s burns unit where we’re still assessing their injuries.

“Both girls are well and their families are with them. They will be staying at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Both families would like to thank everyone that’s helped to bring the girls back. The families now wish to have time with the girls and that the media would respect their privacy at this difficult time.”

A photograph released by the girls’ families showed the injuries one of them suffered in the attack. The girl is shown wearing an open striped shirt and a silver necklace. What appear to be acid burns are clearly visible on her chin, neck and upper chest.

One of the girl’s injuries are much worse than the other’s, it was reported, because helpers used dirty water on her burns.

Ms Trup’s father, Marc, told the newspaper from the hospital: “One is much worse than the other. One of the girl’s injuries will take quite a while.”

One of the victims was reportedly immersed in the sea in the aftermath of the attack at Stone Town, a beach resort, and the salt water helped her skin.

“That completely altered the result: the salt water and the acid,” Mr Trup said. “The other girl panicked, ran around, made her way to a public toilet.”

When “they got to medical centre there was no shower,” he added. “They were throwing dirty water at her.”

Five men are being questioned by police on the Indian Ocean island after the women were attacked by men on a motorbike as they walked along a road on Wednesday night.

Mkadam Khamis, regional police commissioner on Zanzibar, told the Daily Telegraph: “There are five people we have, all men, who we are interrogating over this matter this morning. They have not yet been arrested. They are co-operating and answering our questions. Later today maybe there will be a development legally.”

The two teenagers before the attack and a family handout photo of one of the girl's injuries.
The two teenagers before the attack and a family handout photo of one of the girl’s injuries.

The young women, former Francis Holland School pupil Katie, from East Finchley and Kirstie, from Hampstead Garden Suburb, both aged 18 and members of FZY, were enjoying the last week of a trip as volunteer teachers to the predominantly Muslim island when the corrosive substance was thrown at them in an apparently unprovoked attack.

Mr Trup had earlier described the girls as “inconsolable” when he spoke to them after the attack. They were flown to the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam for treatment before being released.

Speaking about the terrifying moments after learning they had been attacked, he told the Times: “We couldn’t get anything out of them because they had been burned…Both girls are very shocked and very frightened.”

Speaking about his daughter, he added: “She can still see and she is not dead. Whatever it is we will cope with it.”

Mr Trup said the girls were dressed appropriately and had been warned not to wear anything which gave away their Jewish background, including the Star of David.

He told the newspaper: “We know it’s a Muslim country, they were Western girls. Unfortunately they went out during the month of Ramadan.

“There has been a huge alert in African countries with potential threats. Maybe it’s connected, maybe not.”

The girls had originally planned to return in time to collect their A-Level results next week, with Miss Trup hoping to study history at the University of Bristol while Miss Gee is considering the University of Leeds, it was reported.

Zanzibar is an archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean about 22 miles off the mainland. The semi-autonomous region of Tanzania is predominantly Muslim and has been the scene of some religious violence in recent years.

Earlier this year two Christian leaders were killed and in November a cleric was treated in hospital after an acid attack. The attack happened in the Stone Town area of Zanzibar’s eponymous capital city.

i-to-i Travel, the company the girls used to volunteer abroad, said today: “We welcome the proactive investigations being carried out by local authorities in Zanzibar and continue to liaise with them.

“We have been in contact with all of our customers who remain in Zanzibar and provided them all with a copy of our recommended safety measures from their pre-tour safety guide and advised them to remain vigilant during the remainder of their stay.

“We also recommend they refer to the FCO advice.

“Customers due to arrive into Zanzibar this weekend have been given the option to volunteer at an alternative project and all have chosen to continue to travel to Tanzania.”

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