A Leeds student is in hospital with severe head and facial injuries after what is believed to have been an unprovoked attack on him and two other young men.
Detectives are now hunting the man who assaulted the 21-year-old, his brother and a friend after accusing them of damaging his car in the Woodhouse area of Leeds in the early hours of Sunday.
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The attack left the student with a fractured skull and a broken jaw and last night he was in a "stable" condition in Leeds General Infirmary where he was undergoing reconstructive surgery to his face. His brother is understood to have suffered minor injuries.
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The student, his brother and the friend had left the Chemic Tavern pub in Johnson Street, Woodhouse, shortly before being assaulted in nearby Woodhouse Street at 1.45am.
Moments before the beating, the brother and the friend were confronted by a man who accused them of damaging his car. The three attempted to run away, but were chased and attacked near a restaurant on Woodhouse Street. The 21-year-old was knocked unconscious and his brother sustained minor injuries.
It is possible that more than one person was involved in the assault, said a spokesman for North West Leeds police.
The one known attacker was described as being of mixed race, in his early 20s, slim and 5ft 10ins to 6ft tall with short black hair.
Passers-by gave first aid to the badly injured man until an ambulance arrived.
Police sealed off the scene of the attack and carried out an extensive search of the district.
Later Scenes of Crime Officers and forensic experts made a detailed examination of the attack site.
Det Inspector John Dexter, of North West Leeds Division, said: "This was a totally unprovoked attack which has left a young man with very serious injuries that are going to require significant medical treatment.
"Anyone who is prepared to inflict injuries like these on a stranger over nothing clearly needs to be taken off the streets. I urge anyone who witnessed any part of the incident or who has any information that could help us trace this man to get in touch immediately."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Det Con Iain Harper at Weetwood police station via 0845 6060606 or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously and in confidence, on 0800 555 111."