Parents fly to Briton attacked in Australia

THE PARENTS of a British backpacker, lying critically injured in hospital after being brutally attacked in Australia, were making plans yesterday to fly out to his bedside.

Philip and Dorothy Blades will travel to Melbourne where their 23-year- old son, Barry, was found with serious head injuries in a road on Friday.

The close-knit community of East Harling in Norfolk - where Barry lives with his family - has raised the fare for Mr and Mrs Blades to make the trip to be with their son, who was said to be in a "critical" condition in Alfred Hospital. Police at first thought Barry may have been accidentially injured in a hit-and-run incident, but now believe he may have been viciously assaulted.

Speaking about his son's condition, Mr Blades said: "We are remaining positive. The reports from the hospital seem to be encouraging. But saying that, he is still in trouble. We spoke to him a couple of weeks ago and he said he was having a fantastic time. He said he had a terrific time in the Far East and that everything was going really well in Australia and that it was a terrific place to be."

He was planning to travel on to Perth. Barry left his parents' guest house in November to set off on his travels with a friend.The pair travelled through Thailand, Laos and Malaysia before going their separate ways in Bali.

A police spokesman said: "He had a single injury and our investigation has not been conclusive, we are keeping an open mind and looking into the possibility that he was the victim of an assault."

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