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Attack on Kiwi Ryder 'unprovoked' say witnesses


Sympathy was being expressed today for Jesse Ryder who remains in an induced coma with critical injuries after a seemingly unprovoked assault just a day before he was due to leave New Zealand for the Indian Premier League.

Police say they have been unable to establish a motive for a late-night assault outside a bar, which left Ryder critically ill in Christchurch Hospital with a fractured skull and punctured lung.

While Ryder hasn't spoken publicly about those issues, friends say he'd turned his life around in the past 12 months.

Police were adamant that although the Wellington players had been at a licensed premises during the evening, there was no evidence that alcohol was a contributing factor to the assault. Detective Senior Sergeant Brian Archer of Christchurch Police said Ryder was attacked twice in quick succession as he left a bar shortly after midnight.

New Zealand media quoted witnesses as saying the assault on Ryder appeared to be unprovoked and one, Regan Harvey, described the incident as a "Jesse-hate fight. As I walked out there were a couple of guys beating up this one guy on the ground," Harvey said. "As far as I can tell Jesse has done nothing wrong here. It looked like it was completely unprovoked."

Archer said police had interviewed witnesses and were investigating. "We believe 10 or more people have witnessed some of the events," he said.