POLICE are appealing for witnesses - in particular a woman - following an alleged assault outside a bar that left a man with life-threatening injuries.

Officers were called to the incident outside Avalon in Blackwellgate, Darlington, just before 1am on Tuesday.

Reports suggested a man was punched to the floor and knocked unconscious.

A 21-year old man was arrested on suspicion of the assault and has since been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

The victim was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital before being transferred to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

He underwent surgery yesterday and continues to be cared for at hospital.

Detective Superintendent Victoria Fuller said: “We are keen to speak to a small group of people who were in the Blackwellgate area before the incident took place and who we believe may have witnessed the assault and events leading up to it.

“In particular we are trying to trace a woman who is described as having long dark hair, wearing a light coloured long sleeved top and dark trousers. She appeared to be in conversation with those involved immediately prior to the assault.

“This is a serious incident and I would urge these witnesses to come forward.”

Please contact Darlington police via 101 and quote reference 10 of August 13 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.