Comedian Ryan Hand among three injured during vicious attacks in Newcastle
A popular stand-up comedian was one of three people injured during separate brutal attacks in Newcastle over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Ryan Hand, a comedian and TV presenter, was left with facial injuries after he was assaulted by three men in the centre of the seaside town in the early hours of Monday morning.
The previous evening, a 25-year-old man received horrific injuries, including a fractured skull and bleeding in the brain, when he was attacked by two males. A female friend was also hurt during the unprovoked attack outside a bar in the seaside town.
Ryan, who has been left with a bust lip and black eye, said he was lucky that he had not been more seriously injured.
The 27-year-old Co Down man had just left the Anchor Bar, where he had been DJing, when he was attacked.
"It was around 12.30am and I was running out to meet a friend when three guys asked me who I was running from and then they all started punching me about the head," he said.
He added: "It was completely out of the blue. They just laid into me. I was crouched over with my hands over my head trying to protect myself. It must have lasted for about 10 seconds and then people started to push them away from me.
"Thank God I didn't end up in a worse state. I could have ended up with a fractured skull like that other poor guy."
Ryan, who is from Newcastle, said the town can become more violent during peak holiday times when there is an influx of visitors.
"Newcastle is a great place - usually a safe place with brilliant people living here. But there can be trouble at holiday weekends.
"I'm very lucky that I only received minor injuries. Sometimes people who suffer unwarranted attacks aren't as lucky as me and for no reason at all can end up in a worse situation," he said.
Just 24 hours earlier a 28-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man were attacked by two males outside O'Hare's Bar in the central promenade area of the town.
The man remains in a serious condition in hospital after the attack left him with a fractured skull, bleeding in the brain, multiple fractures in his cheek and a broken nose.
His friend, who had two toes broken during the assault, took to Facebook to appeal for help in catching their attackers who fled from the scene in a blue car.
"Unfortunately I was this female. I got the beginning of the (car registration) before one of the animals ripped the reg plate off and sped off.
"My friend remains in a serious condition in hospital. Keep sharing everyone, your help is greatly appreciated," she wrote.
The PSNI said that officers in Newcastle arrested a 39-year-old man in relation to the assault. He was held on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol and assisting an offender and has been released on bail pending further inquiries.
Local councillor Willie Clarke said he was concerned there were not enough police resources to prevent violent attacks during peak times.
The Sinn Fein representative said: "We don't really have problems of this nature all year round. It is just at peak holiday times when there is an influx of visitors and tourists and a lot of alcohol is involved. I am concerned about the level of police resources available, and I'm very concerned that it is going to get worse with all the budget cuts."