Cardiff arrest over ballet dancer Jack Widdowson attack

Jack Widdowson as role Demetrius in Bern: Ballet's premiere of Ein Winternachtstraum (A mid-Winter's Night Dream)
Image caption Jack Widdowson performed in Bern: Ballet's premiere of Ein Winternachtstraum (A Mid-Winter's Night Dream) two days before he was attacked

A man has been arrested after an attack in Cardiff which left a teenage ballet dancer fighting for his life.

Jack Widdowson, 19, from Bath, is in intensive care with serious neck injuries after being assaulted early on Saturday while out with his brothers.

His mobile phone was stolen and he was left unconscious in the street.

Police said they arrested a 23-year-old man on suspicion of section 18 assault and robbery on Wednesday morning in Broadway, Roath, Cardiff.

He remains in police custody.

South Wales Police Det Ch Insp Andy Davies said: "I wish to thank the press and the community for their support and assistance in relation to our ongoing investigation. It is very much appreciated."

Mr Widdowson's father has appealed for people to come forward with information on the attack, which happened when the teenager became separated from his brothers on a night out.

He had been visiting his brother - a former semi-professional rugby player - at Cardiff University.

Police said they wanted to trace a man seen walking with Mr Widdowson - an apprentice dancer at Bern: Ballett, based at the Stadttheater Bern in Switzerland - in the Bute Terrace area at about 00:45 GMT on Saturday.

Officers said Mr Widdowson was attacked on a towpath near a disused canal parallel with Tyndal Street, and had his property, including his iPhone, stolen.

Stable condition

He was found unconscious in the street by a member of the public shortly after 02:00 GMT and taken to the University Hospital of Wales, where his family have been at his bedside.

Cardiff and Vale health board said on Tuesday afternoon that his condition was stable and he had been taken off the ventilator.

His Cardiff-born father Dr Julian Widdowson described his son as being a "physically, mentally and emotionally strong person" after surviving bacterial meningitis three years ago, undertaking a "punishing programme of rehabilitation exercises".

He said: "Jack has always been a very determined strong-willed person who has worked incredibly hard to make the best use of his talents."

'Proud family'

Dr Widdowson said that his son was "thrilled" to have been chosen as one of the youngest ever members of Bern: Ballet Dance Company.

He danced one of the lead roles in the company's winter production two days before the attack, watched by his "proud" family.

Bern: Ballett director and choreographer Cathy Marston said Mr Widdowson had joined the company in August from the London Contemporary Dance School where had had been on a post-graduate course in performance.

"The dancers in the company are shocked and upset - Jack is a much loved, funny and kind colleague," she said.

Two other men, aged 22 and 42, who were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender have been released without charge.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Cardiff Central CID on 029 2052 7420 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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