A man has been left with half a skull after being assaulted in what police called a "savage and despicable" attack in Lancashire. Kirk Hutchinson was found lying unconscious on a pavement in the town of Bacup having sustained major head trauma.

The 52-year-old, of neighbouring Stracksteads, suffered life-changing injuries and had to undergo surgery to stop a bleed on the brain while in a medically induced coma. Six months after the attack, which happened on 26 October 2015, he remains in hospital. Doctors say he will likely need medical care for the rest of his life.

Detectives from Lancashire Police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward. The evening of the attack had seen officers called to reports of a disturbance involving several males in Gladstone Street, where Hutchinson was found. It is believed a group of men wearing dark clothing, scarves and balaclavas may be responsible.

Seven men, aged between 20 and 33, and a 38-year-old woman had previously been arrested in connection with the incident. They were all released without charge.

Det Insp Andy Cribbin, of Lancashire Police, said: "This was a particularly vicious and cowardly assault on a defenceless individual. Despite making some initial arrests, we have yet to charge those responsible for carrying out this attack.

"Six months on, this must change. Kirk Hutchinson was subjected to a brutal and sustained assault. His head injuries were so severe he needed surgery and was placed in a coma.

"He remains in hospital for treatment to his head injury and will probably need medical care for the rest of his life. We are appealing to the community to provide information which could help us with our investigation.

"We believe at least two people saw the attack and would ask them and any others to come forward with information. This was a savage and despicable assault and Mr Hutchinson deserves justice."

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Kirk Hutchinson with daugther, Chelsea Tolley, before the attack

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