THE priest of a church close to where a man was severely beaten and left with serious head injuries has urged witnesses to come forward.
A 36-year-old man was left unconscious on the ground after being attacked outside St Thomas the Apostle Church, at the junction of Elson Road and Elson Lane, Gosport, at 2.30am, yesterday.
After spending an evening in the nearby Three Tuns pub, the victim and his 40-year-old friend stopped on a bench for a chat.
They were approached by a man who repeatedly hit the victim in the head.
The 40-year-old local man was also assaulted, sustaining a minor head wound.
Initially, the 36-year-old victim was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, and later transferred to Southampton General Hospital where he is being treated for serious head injuries. His condition was described as stable.
Following an arrest, detectives are now appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward and help with the investigation.
Reverend Karen Mitchell, from St Thomas’, said: ‘It is always upsetting to hear about anyone being attacked in any way, shape or form.
‘I very much hope the victim makes a good recovery.
‘Both the victim and the perpetrator are in our prayers – obviously for different reasons.
‘I hope people who witnessed what happened have the courage to come forward to help the police.’
Police are in the area conducting a crime scene examination, studying CCTV and continued to speak to witnesses today.
They would like to speak to anyone who saw the victim and his friend in the pub earlier in the evening.
Robert Reynolds, 47, of Elson Road, said: ‘It’s really shocking to hear what’s happened.
‘I have to admit I didn’t hear a thing last night. But this is not a violent area.
‘I do hope the man recovers.
‘It sounds like a senseless attack to me.’
A 35-year-old man from Gosport has been arrested and is currently in custody.
Anyone with information should call 101 and ask for Portsmouth CID or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.