Mrs World has been arrested for an alleged assault after she yanked the crown from the new Mrs Sri Lanka’s head while claiming she was not eligible to compete because she was divorced.
The beauty pageant descended into chaos when Caroline Jurie, who won the crown in 2019 and is the current Mrs World, snatched it from new winner Pushpika De Silva in a bizarre on-stage intervention.
The ceremony was broadcast on national television at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.
Mrs De Silva, 28, was reportedly left with head injuries and needed hospital treatment after the incident, which was also witnessed by stunned spectators in the theatre.
The prize has since been returned to Mrs De Silva after the event organisers confirmed that she is separated but not divorced, therefore allowing her to compete.
Sri Lankan police confirmed that Jurie, 28, and another model involved in the on-stage bust-up were arrested.
Senior officer Ajith Rohana said: “We have arrested Jurie and Chula Padmendra in connection with a charge of assault and causing damage to Nelum Pokuna (Theatre).”
Astonishing footage that went viral around the world showed Jurie tell the audience: “There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place.”
She then marches over to Mrs De Silva and grabs at the golden crown which is placed upon her head, but it appears to get caught in the beauty queen’s hair.
When it is finally pulled free, Jurie places it on the head of the runner-up before a tearful Mrs De Silva walks off the stage.
Posting on Facebook, Mrs De Silva wrote: “There are a lot of single mums like me today who are suffering in Sri Lanka. This crown is dedicated to those women, those single mums who are suffering to raise their kids alone.”
She added that she would be taking legal action for the “unreasonable and insulting” way she was treated.
Jurie and the chief organiser of the Mrs Sri Lanks pageant, Chandimal Jayasingh, were questioned by police on Thursday.
Organisers of the event said they expect Jurie to make a public apology to Mrs De Silva.
Mrs Jayasingh said: “We are disappointed. It was a disgrace how Caroline Jurie behaved on the stage and the Mrs World organisation has already begun an investigation on the matter.”
Mrs De Silva told reporters she would drop the charges if Jurie made a public apology, but the latter has so far refused to do so.
Jurie and Padmendra were bailed to appear in Colombo Magistrates Court on April 19. There was no immediate comment from Jurie or her lawyer.
Mrs World was the first beauty pageant for married women when it began in 1984, and now it features in 80 countries worldwide with Mrs Sri Lanka among them.