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

Gerard Williams, who detectives believe was deliberately targeted, suffered fractures to his skull, arms and legs as a result of the brutal attack.

The 43-year-old father-of-three is 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.

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Yesterday, Detective Inspector Mark 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.

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.

“All three remain in police custody awaiting questioning.

“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).

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Incident Room on 01642-303235 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.