FOUR people have been arrested in connection with the violent assault that has left a man in a coma with a fractured skull.

Gerard Williams suffered fractures to his skull, arms and legs as a result of the brutal attack, in what police described as a deliberately targeted and sustained assault.

The 43-year-old father-of-three remains in an induced coma at James Cook University Hospital after police discovered his badly beaten body on grassland in the Whinney Banks area of Middlesbrough on Thursday evening (January 30).

The motive for the attack remains unclear but the detective leading the investigation, Detective Inspector Mark Dimelow, confirmed that the victim had been attacked with a wooden weapon, possibly a baseball bat.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: “Detectives investigating a serious assault on a 42-year-old in Weatherhead Avenue, Whinney Banks last Thursday have arrested three men today.

“Two separate addresses in Middlesbrough were targeted early this morning and the men, one in his late teens and two in their 40s, were arrested.

“The younger man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit Section 18 wounding and the two men in their 40s were arrested on suspicion of Section 18 wounding.

“This afternoon we arrested a 23-year-old woman at an address in Middlesbrough, on suspicion of conspiracy to commit Section 18 wounding.

“Police would still like to hear from anyone who has information about the assault which took place at around 7.45pm last Thursday evening (January 30).”

Yesterday (Monday, February 3), DI Dimelow, of Cleveland Police’s major crime unit, urged members of the public to come forward with any information that could lead to the arrest of whoever carried out the brutal assault.

Throughout Friday, the crime scene was cordoned off with tape while officers combed the grass for evidence while door-to-door inquiries were carried out.

Officers are searching CCTV footage from the area in an attempt to identify the attacker and door to door inquires were carried out by officers.

All four remain in police custody while inquiries continue.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Cleveland Police’s major incident room on 01642-303235 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111.