Zanzibar acid attack victims arrive back in UK

Kirstie Trup (left) and Katie Gee
Kirstie Trup (left) and Katie Gee
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TWO British teenagers attacked with acid on Zanzibar arrived back in the UK yesterday as a photograph was released showing the extent of their injuries.

Volunteer teachers Katie Gee and Kirstie Trup, both 18, were flown in to RAF Northolt in London, to be reunited with their families.

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.

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.

The pair, from north London, were enjoying the last week of a trip to the predominantly Muslim island when a corrosive substance was thrown at them in an apparently unprovoked attack.

They suffered burns to their faces, hands, legs, backs and necks.

Ms Gee’s mother, Nicky, 45, said: “I am just glad she is home. I want to get inside and see her. We spoke this morning and she said she was okay. It has been a terrible ordeal for the families.”

The firm which organised their visit, i-to-i Travel, confirmed the women had arrived in the UK and been taken to a hospital in the capital. It said: “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 safety measures from their pre-tour safety guide and advised them to remain vigilant during the remainder of their stay.

“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.”

Ms Trup’s father, Marc, said the pair were “inconsolable” and still in pain when he spoke to them on a mobile phone lent to the girls by a passer-by after the attack.

“We couldn’t get anything out of them because they had been burned,” he said. “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 said: “We know it’s a Muslim country, they were Western girls. Unfortunately they went out during the month of Ramadan. ”

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

It emerged yesterday that Ms Gee had been attacked previously on the island. A friend, Oli Cohen, 21, said: “Katie was attacked two weeks ago by a Muslim woman for singing during Ramadan. She was shocked as it just came from out of the blue – but she wasn’t scared enough to come home. She stayed out there to finish her trip and volunteering.”

In November, a cleric was treated in hospital after an acid attack in the island’s capital.