A MURDER inquiry will continue today after police confirmed that a man found lying in a country lane had been attacked.

Medical tests have now shown that David Williamson, who was found unconscious on a quiet road between Sutton-on-the-Forest and Huby, North Yorkshire, died from a severe blow to the back of the head.

Mr Williamson, 58, was found by a man walking his dog at 5.30am last Monday. He died in Leeds General Infirmary.

He had attended a party at the Star Inn, Huby, the night before, and was last seen at about 11.30pm, setting off to walk the two miles back to his home at Sutton-on-the- Forest.

Yesterday, Acting Detective Inspector Kevin Ross, who is leading the inquiry, confirmed that further examinations by pathologists and expert advice from neuro-surgeons had revealed that Mr Williamson died from a severe blow to the head, probably with a blunt instrument.

The inquiry has been expanded, with 25 detectives working on the case. They are keen to trace the occupants of a dark-coloured vehicle which was parked at a building, known as Bentley's barn, near the scene.

Police are also appealing to anyone who was at the pub on the day, but has not yet come forward, to do so.

However, Det Insp Ross said there was no evidence to suggest any incident had occurred in the pub that could have led to Mr Williamson being attacked.

"There was a party and the normal raucous behaviour, but there were no arguments or fights," he said.

The inquiry is still focusing on the villages of Huby and Sutton-on-the-Forest, where Mr Williamson lived alone.

Det Insp Ross said: "It is the people of those villages that we want to appeal to - to come forward and give us evidence that will help us get to the bottom of how David died.

"There's a lot more they can tell us if they just search their minds and search their consciences."

A 27-year-old local man who was arrested in connection with the death and released on police bail on Saturday is due to report back to York police station on May 3.

Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on (01609) 783131.