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2019 Mrs Sri Lanka arrested after ugly fracas with her successor

COLOMBO : Police yesterday arrested the current Mrs World on charges of assault over an onstage fracas in which she pulled the crown off the head of the new Mrs Sri Lanka.

Mrs Caroline Jurie yanked the crown off Mrs Pushpika de Silva minutes after she was declared Mrs Sri Lanka 2020 at a gala on Sunday at Colombo's Nelum Pokuna theatre. Mrs Jurie was the previous year's Mrs Sri Lanka and had gone on to win the Mrs World competition organised by a California-based company.

Mrs de Silva, who was named Mrs Sri Lanka again at a smaller ceremony on Tuesday, needed hospital treatment after the incident, which was witnessed by stunned spectators in a packed theatre as well as a live social media audience.

"We have arrested Jurie and (her associate) Chula Manamendra in connection with a charge of assault and causing damage to Nelum Pokuna (theatre)," senior police official Ajith Rohana said.

PUBLIC APOLOGY

Mrs de Silva told reporters yesterday that she was ready to drop charges if Mrs Jurie made a public apology, but she had refused. "I tried to end this out of court, but she has refused," Mrs de Silva said. "I can forgive, but not forget." There was no immediate comment from Mrs Jurie or her lawyer.

Police sources said a court hearing was likely next week and Mrs Jurie and her associate who crashed onto the stage on Sunday could be granted bail.

She had claimed that Mrs de Silva was divorced and therefore ineligible for the prize. To qualify for the title, contestants must be married. Mrs de Silva is estranged from her husband, but they are still legally married.

Organisers said they were claiming compensation from Mrs Jurie for damage to the stage and backstage dressing rooms where several mirrors had been smashed. She has also been accused by organisers of bringing disrepute to the event.

The local franchise holder for the pageant, Mr Chandimal Jayasinghe, said they were "deeply disturbed and sincerely regret" the behaviour of Mrs Jurie.

Calls on social media to strip Mrs Jurie of the Mrs World title have been mounting, with one meme calling for her to be rebranded as "Mrs Under World." - AFP

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