DETECTIVES are continuing their hunt for the person who carried out a sustained and violent assault that left the victim in a coma with severe head injuries.

Gerard Williams suffered fractures to his skull, arms and legs during the attack, described by police as deliberately targeted, on January 30.

And officers believe that people living in the Whinney Banks area of Middlesbrough hold the key to identifying the attacker of the well-known man.

The 42-year-old father of three was brought out of a coma at the weekend.

Senior investigating officer Superintendent Rob Donaghy is calling on the community to come forward with information that will lead to the arrest of the attacker as officers deliver leaflets to more than 500 homes in the area.

He said: “It doesn’t matter what people think of Gerard Williams, no one deserved to suffer the beating that he did. Witnesses have said he was hit between 20 and 30 times with a wooden weapon like a baseball bat or a cricket bat.

“What people have to think about is that the victim could have been their father, brother, son or friend – so we would urge people to come forward with whatever information they have so that we can be the attacker to justice.”

Officers have also placed posters appealing for information on lampposts and in local shops in a bid to encourage more people to contact them.

An incident room was set up following the assault and four people – three men and a woman - were arrested in connection with the incident. All four remain on bail.

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