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Police puzzled by injured backpacker

A British backpacker was in a critical condition in an Australian hospital last night after he was found mysteriously lying in the middle of a street with a fractured skull, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

Daniel Moore, 21, had been drinking in a beach bar with friends on Sunday evening before he was discovered in the north Sydney suburb of Manly. Detectives were unable to tell if he had been the victim of an assault or a hit-and-run, describing the case as "a bit of a mystery".

Mr Moore's parents are believed to flown to Australia from the family home in Marske-by-the-Sea, Redcar, Cleveland, to be with their son at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital.

Detectives are trying to track down a taxi driver who was seen in the area at the time. It is believed that the taxi stopped shortly before the incident and then continued down the road where Daniel was found.

A New South Wales Police spokesman said: "Police would now like to speak to the driver of a taxi who is believed to possibly be one of the last people to have seen Mr Moore."

Police have been unable to talk to Mr Moore because of his condition.